53.1 Abdullah (b. ‘Umar) reported:
The Apostle of Allah (ﷺ) recited (Surat) al Najm and performed prostration during its recital and all those who were along with him also prostrated themselves except one old man who took a handful of pebbles or dust in his palm and lifted it to his forehead and said: This is sufficient for me. ‘Abdullah said: I saw that he was later killed in a state of unbelief.
53.2 Narrated [‘Abdullah] bin Mas’ud:
“When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) reached Sidrat Al-Muntaha” He said: ‘There terminates everything that ascends from the earth, and everything that descends from above. So there Allah gave him three, which He did not give to any Prophet before him: He made fiver prayers obligatory upon him, He gave him the last Verses of Surat Al-Baqarah, and He pardoned the grave sins for those of his Ummah who do not associate anything with Allah.’ Ibn Mas’ud said regarding the Ayah:
( إذْ يَغْشَى السِّدْرَةَ مَا يَغْشَى )
“When that covered the Sidrah which did cover it! (53:16)”
he said: “The sixth Sidrah in heavens.” Sufyan said: “Golden butterflies” and Sufyan indicated with his hand in a fluttering motion. Others besides Malik bin Mighwal said: “There terminates the creatures’ knowledge, there is no knowledge for them of what is above that.”
53.3 Narrated ‘Ikrimah:
that Ibn ‘Abbas said (regarding the Ayah): The heart lied not in what he (ﷺ) saw (53:11). He said: “He saw Him with his heart.”
53.4 Narrated Ash-Shaibani:
“I asked Zirr bin Hubaish about the saying of Allah the Might and Sublime: And was a distance of two bow lengths or less (53:9). So he said: ‘Ibn Mas’ud informed me that the Prophet (ﷺ) saw Jibra’il, and he had six-hundred wings.'”
53.5 Narrated ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Zaid:
from ‘Abdullah (regarding the Ayah): The heart lied not in what he saw (53:11). He said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saw Jibra’il in a Hullah (dress normally made up of two pieces) of Rafraf filling what is between the heavens and the earth.”
53.6 Narrated ‘Ata:
from Ibn ‘Abbas (regarding this Ayah): Those who avoid great sins and Al-Fawahish except Al-Lamam (minor sins) (53:32). He said: “The Prophet (ﷺ) said: ‘Your forgiveness, O Allah is so ample, and which of Your worshipers has not committed Al-Lamam (minor sins)!'”
53.7 It was narrated that ‘Abdullah said:
“When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was taken on the Night Journey, he came to Sidrah Al-Muntaha, which is in the sixth heaven. That is where everything that comes up from below ends, and where everything that comes down from above, until it is taken from it. Allah says: When what covered the lote-tree did cover it!  He said: “It was moths of gold. And I was given three things: The five daily prayers, the last verses of Surah Al-Baqarah, and whoever of my Ummah dies without associating anything with Allah will be forgiven for Al-Muqhimat.”   An-Najm 53:16.  “The sins of the worst magnitude that drag one into the Fire.” (An-Nihayah)
53.8 Narrated Ash-Sha’bi:
“Ibn ‘Abbas met Ka’b at Arafat, so he asked him about something and he kept on saying the Takbir until it reverberated off of the mountains. So Ibn ‘Abbas (finally) said: ‘We are Banu Hashim.’ So Ka’b said: ‘Indeed Allah divided His being seen and His speaking between Muhammad and Musa. He spoke to Musa two times, and Muhammad saw Him two times.’ Masruq said: ‘I entered upon ‘Aishah and asked her if Muhammad saw his Lord.’ She said: ‘You have said something that makes my hair stand on end.’ I said: ‘Take it easy.’ Then I recited: Indeed he saw of the great signs of his Lord (53:18). So she said: ‘What do you mean by that? That is only Jibra’il. Whoever informed you that Muhammad saw his Lord, or that (ﷺ) concealed something he was ordered with, or he knew of the five things about which Allah, [Most High] said: Verily Allah, with Him is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain (31:34) – then he has fabricated the worst lie. Rather he (ﷺ) saw Jibra’il, but he did not see him in his (real) image except two times. One time at Sidrat Al-Muntaha and one time in Jiyad, he had six-hundred wings which filled the horizon.'”
53.9 Narrated Masruq:
“I was reclining in the presence of ‘Aishah when she said: ‘O Abu ‘Aishah! There are three things, whoever speaks of one of them, then he has uttered one of the worst lies against Allah. Whoever claims that Muhammad saw his Lord. Then he has uttered one the worst lies against Allah, Allah says: No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision, and He is the Most Subtle, Well-Acquainted with all things (6:103). It is not for any human being that Allah should speak to him unless (it be) by revelation or from behind a veil (42:91).’ I was reclining so I sat up an said: ‘O Mother of the Believers! Take your time with me and do not be hasty with me! Did Allah Most High not say: And indeed he saw him at a second descent (53:13). (And) ‘And indeed he saw him in the clear horizon (81:23).’ She said ‘By Allah! I was the first who asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) about this. He said: “That was only Jibril. I did not see him in the appearance he was created in except for these two times. I saw him descending from the heavens, and due to his tremendous size he filled what was between the heavens and the earth.” “And whoever claimed that Muhammad hid anything that Allah revealed to him, then he uttered one of the worst lies against Allah. Allah says: O Messenger! Proclaim what has been sent down to you from your Lord (5:67).” “And whoever claimed that he (ﷺ) knew what would be tomorrow, then he has uttered one of the worst lies against Allah. Allah says: Say: ‘None in the heavens and in the earth knows the unseen but Allah (27:65).'”
53.10 Zirr b. Hubaish narrated it on the authority of ‘Abdullah (that the words of Allah):
” Certainly he saw of the greatest signs of Allah” (al-Qur’an, liii. 18) imply that he saw Gabriel in his (original) form and he had six hundred wings.
53.11 Masruq reported:
I said to ‘A’isha: What about the words of Allah:” Then he drew nigh and came down, so he was at a distance of two bows or closer still: so He revealed to His servant what He revealed” (al-Qur’an, liii. 8-10)? She said: It implies Gabriel. He used to come to him (the Holy Prophet) in the shape of men; but he came at this time in his true form and blocked up the horizon of the sky.
53.12 Narrated Ibn Mas’ud:
Alqamah and al-Aswad said: A man came to Ibn Mas’ud. He said: I recite the mufassal surahs in one rak’ah. You might recite it quickly as one recites verse (poetry) quickly, or as the dried dates fall down (from the tree).
But the Prophet (ﷺ) used to recite two equal surahs in one rak’ah; he would recite (for instance) surahs an-Najm (53) and ar-Rahman (55) in one rak’ah, surahs Iqtarabat (54) and al-Haqqah (69) in one rak’ah, surahs at-Tur (52) and adh-Dhariyat (51) in one rak’ah, surahs al-Waqi’ah (56) and Nun (68) in one rak’ah, surahs al-Ma’arij (70) and an-Nazi’at (79) in one rak’ah, surahs al-Mutaffifin (83) and Abasa (80) in one rak’ah, surahs al-Muddaththir (74) and al-Muzzammil (73) in one rak’ah, surahs al-Insan (76) and al-Qiyamah (75) in one rak’ah, surahs an-Naba’ (78) and al-Mursalat (77) in one rak’ah, and surahs ad-Dukhan (44) and at-Takwir (81) in one rak’ah.
Abu Dawud said: This is the arrangement of Ibn Mas’ud himself.
53.13 Narrated Abu Salamah:
from Ibn ‘Abbas regarding Allah’s saying: And indeed he saw him at a second descent. Near Sidrat Al-Muntaha (53:13 & 14). So He revealed to His worshiper whatever he revealed (53:10). And was a distance of two bow lengths or less (53:9). Ibn ‘Abbas said: “The Prophet (ﷺ) saw Him.”
53.14 Ibn Kathir related about
﴾ أفرأيتم اللات والعزى ﴿
So have you considered al-Lat and al-‘Uzza?
﴾ ومناة الثالثة الأخرى ﴿
And Manat, the third – the other one? (53:19-20)
(Have you then considered Al-Lat,) Al-Lat was a white stone with inscriptions on. There was a house built around Al-Lat in At-Ta’if with curtains, servants and a sacred courtyard around it. The people of At-Ta’if, the tribe of Thaqif and their allies, worshipped Al-Lat. They would boast to Arabs, except the Quraysh, that they had Al-Lat. Ibn Jarir said, “They derived Al-Lat’s name from Allah’s Name, and made it feminine. Allah is far removed from what they ascribe to Him. It was reported that Al-Lat is pronounced Al-Lat because, according to `Abdullah bin `Abbas, Mujahid, and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Al-Lat was a man who used to mix Sawiq (a kind of barley mash) with water for the pilgrims during the time of Jahiliyyah. When he died, they remained next to his grave and worshipped him.” Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said about Allah’s statement,
(Al-Lat, and Al-`Uzza.) “Al-Lat was a man who used to mix Sawiq for the pilgrims.” Ibn Jarir said, “They also derived the name for their idol Al-`Uzza from Allah’s Name Al-`Aziz. Al-`Uzza was a tree on which the idolators placed a monument and curtains, in the area of Nakhlah, between Makkah and At-Ta’if. The Quraysh revered Al-`Uzza.” During the battle of Uhud, Abu Sufyan said, “We have Al-`Uzza, but you do not have Al-`Uzza.” Allah’s Messenger replied,
قُولُوا: اللهُ مَوْلَانَا وَلَا مَوْلَى لَكُم
Say, “Allah is Our Supporter, but you have no support.”
Manat was another idol in the area of Mushallal near Qudayd, between Makkah and Al-Madinah. The tribes of Khuza`ah, Aws and Khazraj used to revere Manat during the time of Jahiliyyah. They used to announce Hajj to the Ka`bah from next to Manat. Al-Bukhari collected a statement from `A’ishah with this meaning. There were other idols in the Arabian Peninsula that the Arabs revered just as they revered the Ka`bah, besides the three idols that Allah mentioned in His Glorious Book. Allah mentioned these three here because they were more famous than the others. An-Nasa’i recorded that Abu At-Tufayl said, “When the Messenger of Allah conquered Makkah, he sent Khalid bin Al-Walid to the area of Nakhlah where the idol of Al-`Uzza was erected on three trees of a forest. Khalid cut the three trees and approached the house built around it and destroyed it. When he went back to the Prophet and informed him of the story, the Prophet said to him,
(Go back and finish your mission, for you have not finished it.) Khalid went back and when the custodians who were also its servants of Al-`Uzza saw him, they started invoking by calling Al-`Uzza! When Khalid approached it, he found a naked woman whose hair was untidy and who was throwing sand on her head. Khalid killed her with the sword and went back to the Messenger of Allah , who said to him,
(That was Al-`Uzza!)” Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated, “Al-Lat belonged to the tribe of Thaqif in the area of At-Ta’if. Banu Mu`attib were the custodians of Al-Lat and its servants.” I say that the Prophet sent Al-Mughirah bin Shu`bah and Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb to destroy Al-Lat. They carried out the Prophet’s command and built a Masjid in its place in the city of At-Ta’if. Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Manat used to be the idol of the Aws and Khazraj tribes and those who followed their religion in Yathrib (Al-Madinah). Manat was near the coast, close to the area of Mushallal in Qudayd. The Prophet sent Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb or `Ali bin Abi Talib to demolish it. Ibn Ishaq said that Dhul-Khalasah was the idol of the tribes of Daws, Khath`am and Bajilah, and the Arabs who resided in the area of Tabalah. I say that Dhul-Khalasah was called the Southern Ka`bah, and the Ka`bah in Makkah was called the Northern Ka`bah. The Messenger of Allah sent Jarir bin `Abdullah Al-Bajali to Dhul-Khalasah and he destroyed it. Ibn Ishaq said that Fals was the idol of Tay’ and the neighboring tribes in the Mount of Tay’, such as Salma and Ajja. Ibn Hisham said that some scholars of knowledge told him that the Messenger of Allah sent `Ali bin Abi Talib to Fals and he destroyed it and found two swords in its treasure, which the Prophet then gave to `Ali as war spoils. Muhammad bin Ishaq also said that the tribes of Himyar, and Yemen in general, had a house of worship in San`a’ called Riyam. He mentioned that there was a black dog in it and that the religious men who went with Tubba` removed it, killed it and demolished the building. Ibn Ishaq said that Ruda’ was a structure of Bani Rabi`ah bin Ka`b bin Sa`d bin Zayd Manat bin Tamim, which Al-Mustawghir bin Rabi`ah bin Ka`b bin Sa`d demolished after Islam. In Sindad there was Dhul-Ka`bat, the idol of the tribes of Bakr and Taghlib, the sons of the Wa’il, and also the Iyad tribes.
(Tafsir Ibn Kathir)
53.15 Al-Wahidi recorded
(… He is Best Aware of you (from the time) when He created you from the earth…) [53:32]. Abu Bakr ibn al-Harith informed us> Abu’l-Shaykh al-Hafiz> Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hasan> Ahmad ibn Sa‘d> Ibn Wahb> Abu Lahi‘ah> al-Harith ibn Zayd> Thabit ibn al-Harith al-Ansari who said: “The Jews used to say when they lost a young boy: ‘He is a Tsadoq (Siddiq)’. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, heard of this and commented: ‘The Jews have lied. No living person that Allah creates in the womb of his mother except that it is either felicitous or damned’. Upon which Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse (… He is Best Aware of you (from the time) when He created you from the earth, and when ye were hidden in the bellies of your mothers…)”.
53.16 Al-Wahidi recorded
(Didst thou (O Muhammad) observe him who turned away, And gave a little, then was grudging?) [53:33-34]. Ibn ‘Abbas, al-Suddi and al-Musayyib ibn Sharik said: “This was revealed about ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan who used to spend his wealth on alms and good causes. His milk brother, ‘Abd Allah ibn Abi Sarh, said to him: ‘What is this that you are doing? You have almost nothing left’. ‘Uthman said: ‘I have committed sins and mistakes and I seek the pleasure of Allah, glorious and majestic is He, in that which I do; I hope He will pardon me’. ‘Abd Allah said to him: ‘Give me your camel with its load and I will bear for you all your sins’. He gave him what he asked for and got people to witness it. He also stopped giving some of the alms he used to give. Allah, glorious and majestic is He, therefore, revealed (Didst thou (O Muhammad) observe him who turned away, And gave a little, then was grudging?) upon which ‘Uthman returned to what he used to do; he did even better”. Mujahid and Ibn Zayd said: “This was revealed about al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah. The latter had followed the religion of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. But one of the idolaters reviled him for it, saying: ‘Why did you leave the religion of the elders whom you claimed were in error and are abiding in hellfire?’ He said: ‘I feared Allah’s chastisement’. The man gave him assurances that he will bear in his stead the chastisement of Allah, glorious and majestic is He, in exchange for some of his wealth and on condition that he reverts to his idolatry. Al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah gave the man some of what they had agreed but then felt miserly and refused to give him the rest. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed this verse”.
53.17 Al-Wahidi recorded
(And that He it is who maketh laugh, and maketh weep) [53:43]. Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Wa‘iz informed us> Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Husayn ibn Muhammad al-Thaqafi> ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Fadl> Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr al-Maqdimi> Dalal bint Abi al-Mudil> al-Sahba’> ‘A’ishah who said: “One day, the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, passed by a group of people who were laughing, so he said: ‘If you knew what I know, you would cry a lot and laugh very little’. Gabriel, peace be upon him, then came down to him and said: ‘Allah, exalted is He, says (And that He it is who maketh laugh, and maketh weep)’. So he went back to the group of people and said: ‘I did not walk even forty steps when Gabriel, peace be upon him, met me and said: Go to those people and say to them that Allah, glorious and majestic is He, says: (And that He it is who maketh laugh, and maketh weep)’ ”.
53.18 Imam Hassan said
The Prophet prayed two rak’ahs of Salat al-Kusuf during a solar eclipseand and he recited Surah an-Najm in one of them.
(Musnaf Ibn Abi Shaybah)
53.19 Narrated from Imam Sadiq (as):
One who always recites Surah al-Najm every day and night will be recognized amongst people as a meritorious person and Allah will forgive his sins and will win popularity amongst people.