top of page

Quran Chapter 7 [part 1] - The Heights - Lessons From History, Story of Adam and Satan, Closed Gates

A Meccan sura named after the heights of the barrier which will divide the righteous from the damned on the Day of Judgement (verse 46). The sura begins by addressing the Prophet, reassuring him about his revelations, and closes emphasizing the fact that he merely repeats what is revealed to him. It warns the disbelievers of their fate via numerous stories of disobedient communities of the past, in the hope that they may take heed and repent before it is too late.

In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

Lessons From History

1 Alif Lam Mim Sad

2 This Book has been sent down to you [Prophet]––let there be no anxiety in your heart because of it [a] ––so that you may use it to give warning and to remind the believers: 3 ‘Follow what has been sent down to you from your Lord; do not follow other masters beside Him. How seldom you take heed!’

4 How many towns We have destroyed! Our punishment came to them by night or while they slept in the afternoon: 5 their only cry when Our punishment came to them was, ‘How wrong we were!’ 6 We shall certainly question those to whom messengers were sent–– and We shall question the messengers themselves–– 7 and, with full knowledge, for We were never far from them, We shall tell them what they did. 8 On that Day the weighing of deeds will be true and just: those whose good deeds are heavy on the scales will be the ones to prosper, 9 and those whose good deeds are light will be the ones who have lost their souls through their wrongful rejection of Our messages.

10 We established you [people] on the earth and provided you with a means of livelihood there––small thanks you give!

The Story of Adam and Satan

11 We created you, We gave you shape, and then We said to the angels, ‘Bow down before Adam,’ and they did. But not Iblis: he was not one of those who bowed down. 12 God said, ‘What prevented you from bowing down as I commanded you?’ and he said, ‘I am better than him: You created me from fire and him from clay.’ 13 God said, ‘Get down from here! This [b] is no place for your arrogance. Get out! You are contemptible!’ 14 but Iblis said, ‘Give me respite until the Day people are raised from the dead,’ 15 and God replied, ‘You have respite.’ 16 And then Iblis said, ‘Because You have put me in the wrong, I will lie in wait for them all on Your straight path: 17 I will come at them– from their front and their back, from their right and their left– and You will find that most of them are ungrateful.’ 18 God said, ‘Get out! You are disgraced and banished! I swear I shall fill Hell with you and all who follow you!

Acceptance of Repentance

19 But you and your wife, Adam, live in the Garden. Both of you eat whatever you like, but do not go near this tree or you will become wrongdoers.’

20 Satan whispered to them so as to expose their nakedness, [c] which had been hidden from them: he said, ‘Your Lord only forbade you this tree to prevent you becoming angels or immortals,’ 21 and he swore to them, ‘I am giving you sincere advice’– 22 he lured them with lies. Their nakedness became exposed to them when they had eaten from the tree: they began to put together leaves from the Garden to cover themselves. Their Lord called to them, ‘Did I not forbid you to approach that tree? Did I not warn you that Satan was your sworn enemy?’ 23 They replied, ‘Our Lord, we have wronged our souls: if You do not forgive us and have mercy, we shall be lost.’ 24 He said, ‘All of you get out! You are each other’s enemies. [d] On earth you will have a place to stay and livelihood– for a time.’ 25 He said, ‘There you will live; there you will die; from there you will be brought out.’

A Warning

26 Children of Adam, We have given you garments to cover your nakedness and as adornment for you; the garment of God-consciousness is the best of all garments– this is one of God’s signs, so that people may take heed. 27 Children of Adam, do not let Satan seduce you, as he did your parents, causing them to leave the Garden, stripping them of their garments [e] to expose their nakedness to them: he and his forces can see you from where you cannot see them: We have made evil ones allies to those who do not believe.

28 Yet when [these people] do something disgraceful, [f] they say, ‘We found our forefathers doing this,’ and, ‘God has commanded us to do this.’ Say [Prophet], ‘God does not command disgraceful deeds. How can you say about God things that you do not know [to be true]?’ 29 Say, ‘My Lord commands righteousness. Direct your worship straight to Him wherever you pray; call on Him; devote your religion entirely to Him. Just as He first created you, so you will come back [to life] again.’ 30 Some He has guided and some are doomed to stray: they have taken evil ones rather than God as their masters, thinking that they are rightly guided. 31 Children of Adam, dress well [g] whenever you are at worship, and eat and drink [as We have permitted] but do not be extravagant: God does not like extravagant people. 32 Say [Prophet], ‘Who has forbidden the adornment and the nourishment God has provided for His servants?’ Say, ‘They are [allowed] for those who believe during the life of this world: they will be theirs alone on the Day of Resurrection.’ This is how We make Our revelation clear for those who understand.

The Closed Gates

33 Say [Prophet], ‘My Lord only forbids disgraceful deeds– whether they be open or hidden– and sin [h] and unjustified aggression, and that you, without His sanction, associate things with Him, and that you say things about Him without knowledge.’ [i] 34 There is a time set for every people: they cannot hasten it, nor, when it comes, will they be able to delay it for a single moment.

35 Children of Adam, when messengers come to you from among yourselves, reciting My revelations to you, for those who are conscious of God and live righteously, there will be no fear, nor will they grieve. 36 But those who reject Our revelations and arrogantly scorn them are the people of the Fire and there they will remain. 37 Who is more wrong than the person who invents lies against God or rejects His revelations? Such people will have their preordained share [in this world], but then, when Our angels arrive to take them back, saying, ‘Where are those you used to call on beside God?’ they will say, ‘They have deserted us.’ They will confess that they were disbelievers and 38 God will say, ‘Join the crowds of jinn and humans who have gone before you into the Fire.’ Every crowd curses its fellow crowd as it enters, then, when they are all gathered inside, the last of them will say of the first, ‘Our Lord, it was they who led us astray: give them double punishment in the Fire’– God says, ‘Every one of you will have double punishment, though you do not know it’– 39 and the first of them will say to the last, ‘You were no better than us: taste the punishment you have earned.’

40 The gates of Heaven will not be open to those who rejected Our revelations and arrogantly spurned them; even if a thick rope [j] were to pass through the eye of a needle they would not enter the Garden. This is how We punish the guilty– 41 Hell will be their resting place and their covering, layer upon layer– this is how We punish those who do evil.


a. See 6: 33–6; 20: 2.

b. The Garden, cf. 20: 117.

c. Conventionally translated as ‘private parts’, but the Arabic does not necessarily have this meaning.

d. Iblis is the enemy of mankind and vice versa.

e. Of God-consciousness. This is one of the views reported by Razi.

f. It has been suggested that this could refer to the pagan custom of men and women walking round the Ka'ba naked (Razi).

g. Literally ‘wear your adornment’, but this is clearly a reference to clothes and not to jewelry; cf. 7: 26. See also references to food in 6: 135, 145, 148.

h. Razi identifies this as intoxicants because of their link with ‘sin’ in 2: 219 and the preceding verse about food.

i. Revealed knowledge, cf. 6: 148.

j. Not ‘camel’. The roots of the words for ‘camel’ and ‘thick twisted rope’ are the same in Arabic and ‘rope’ makes more sense here (Razi).

The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)

The Qur'an / a new translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, copyright © 2004 Oxford World's Classics (Oxford University Press). Used by permission. All rights reserved.



bottom of page