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Sura 80 of the Quran
He Frowned
PositionJuzʼ 30
No. of verses42
No. of words133
No. of letters538

Sūrat ʻAbasa (Arabic: سورة عبس‎, "He Frowned") is the 80th sura of the Qur'an with 42 ayat. It is a Meccan sura. The Surah is so designated after the word `abasa with which it opens.[1]

Period of revelation

Sunni view

Commentators and traditionalists of the Sunni origin are unanimous about the occasion of the revelation of this Surah. According to them, at one time some big chiefs of Makkah were sitting in the assembly of Mohammad, and he was earnestly engaged in trying to persuade them to accept Islam. At that very point, a blind man, named Abd-Allah ibn Umm-Maktum, approached him to seek explanation of some point concerning Islam. Muhammad disliked his interruption and ignored him. Thereupon Allah sent down this Surah. From this historical incident the period of the revelation of this Surah can be precisely determined.

In the first place, it is confirmed that Abd-Allah ibn Umm-Maktum was one of the earliest converts to Islam. Ibn Hajar and Ibn Kathir have stated that he was one of those who had accepted Islam at a very early stage at Makkah.

Secondly, some of the traditions of the Hadith which relate this incident show that he had already accepted Islam, and some others show that he was inclined to accept it and had approached Muhammad in search of the truth. Aishah states that coming to Muhammad he had said: "O Messenger of Allah, guide me to the straight path." (Tirmidhi, Hakim, Ibn Hibban, Ibn Jarir, Abu Ya'la. According to Abdullah bin Abbas, he had asked the meaning of a verse of the Qur'an and said to Muhammad: "O Messenger of Allah, teach me the knowledge that Allah has taught you." Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abu Hatim). These statements show that he had acknowledged Muhammad. Contrary to this, Ibn Zaid has interpreted the words "la'allahu yazzakka" of verse 3 to mean: la'allahu yuslim, "that perhaps he might become Muslim." (Ibn Jarir) And Allah's own words: "What would make you know that he might reform, or heed the admonition, and admonishing might profit him?" and "The one who comes to you running, of his own will, and fears, from him you turn away", point out that by that time he had developed in himself a deep desire to learn the truth: he had come to Muhammad with the belief that he was the only source of guidance, and his desire would be satisfied only through him; his apparent state also reflected that if he was given instruction, he would benefit by it.

Thirdly, the names of the people who were sitting in Muhammad's assembly at that time, have been given in different traditions. In this list we find the names of Utba ibn Rabi'ah, Shaibah, Abu Jahl, Umayyah ibn Khalaf, Ubay ibn Khalaf, who were the bitterest enemies of Islam. This shows that the incident took place in the period when these chiefs were still on meeting terms with the Muhammed and their antagonism to Islam had not yet grown so strong as to have stopped their paying visits to him and having dialogues with him off and on. All these arguments indicate that this is one of the very earliest Surahs to be revealed at Makkah.

Shia perspective

The Shia interpretations are unanimous on the view that the person that frowned away was not Muhammad, but an elite from Banu Umayya.[2] According to them, these verses were descended about the man from Banu Umayya who was sitting with Muhammad. At the same time, Abdullah bin Umm Maktum entered, when the rich man saw the poverty stricken Abdullah he drew himself aside, not to get his dress dirty and contracted his facial expressions, got uneasy. In those verses the God stated his acts and criticized and condemned it.[3]

Furthermore, to be grimed faced and stern was not the part of Muhammad’s character. He was always talked to the people with a smiling and open face.[4] Another fact is that to get engaged with the rich people and to be inattentive to the poor and truth seekers is not suited to the morality of Muhammad which is mentioned in the Verse 4 of Sura e Nun Also known as Surah Al-Qalam. Additionally, Surah Al-Qalam was revealed before Surah Abasa.[3]

Surat Nun or Al-Qalam (The Pen)

وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ

Translation: And indeed, you are of a great moral character.[5]

And Indeed, a Hadith is rejected if it opposes even a single verse of Quran.

The tenses of grammar used

The word used was Abasa, which refers to 'He'. The Quran doesn't directly impose the frowning on Muhammad, instead it says "He frowned away", making it widely open for interpretation. [6][7]


  1. ^ "The Quranic Arabic Corpus - Word by Word Grammar, Syntax and Morphology of the Holy Quran". corpus.quran.com.
  2. ^ Najafi, Shaikh Mohsin Ali. "Balagh ul Quran - Shaikh Mohsin Ali Najafi - بلاغ القرآن - شیخ محسن علی نجفی". www.balaghulquran.com.
  3. ^ a b http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=9045[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ waheed. "Prophet Muhammad's Smile - The Religion of Islam". www.islamreligion.com.
  5. ^ "Surah Al-Qalam [68]". Surah Al-Qalam [68].
  6. ^ "Surah 'Abasa [80]". Surah 'Abasa [80].
  7. ^ "Quran - Surah Abasa - Arabic, English Translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali". www.theonlyquran.com.

Media related to Abasa at Wikimedia Commons

Wikisource has original text related to this article: The Holy Qur'an (Maulana Muhammad Ali)/80. Frowned
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