Meaning of “Burooj” in the Quran

Assalam o alaikum Sir

a) In surah 85 surah AL Burooj verse 1-7, why has the “past scene” been translated in the future tense.

b) Did Arabs of that time had any concept of “BUROOJ” that their reference may lead them to the reality?

Qaiser Mahmood

Karachi, Pakistan

Wa alaikum us salam Brother

In Arabic, past tense for future incidents is used to give a sense: “There is no doubt that ….” It adds emphasis to extreme extent. For instance, if it is said in Arabic: “The Day of Judgment arrived.”,  it means that “It is 100% confirm that the Day of Judgment will definitely arrive.” This style is common in English as well. For instance, if we want to say about future: “I shall definitely go there tomorrow.” We say: “I am going there tomorrow.” So use of present tense emphasizes that the intention of going there is confirmed.

Arabs had a concept of Burooj which was different from the one propagated by the astrologists. According to the commentary of Tabari, scholars described four meanings of this word:

1.     Stars on the sky

2.     Palaces on the heavens

3.     Check posts on the heavens

4.     12 imaginary areas on the heavens (the Zodiac)

This fourth opinion is influenced by the views of astrologists which has nothing to do with Islam. In Arabic, the word Burj means a check post of a castle. Burooj on the heavens means the check posts which are set to watch the movement of devils and demons. Whenever they try to pass these posts, they receive a punishment in form of a fire missile. This is also described in the Quran:

وَأَنَّا لَمَسْنَا السَّمَاءَ فَوَجَدْنَاهَا مُلِئَتْ حَرَسًا شَدِيدًا وَشُهُبًا. وَأَنَّا كُنَّا نَقْعُدُ مِنْهَا مَقَاعِدَ لِلسَّمْعِ ۖ فَمَنْ يَسْتَمِعِ الْآنَ يَجِدْ لَهُ شِهَابًا رَصَدًا۔

[Jinn said:] “‘And [so it happened] that we reached out towards heaven: but we found it filled with mighty guards and flames, notwithstanding that we were established in positions [which we had thought well-suited] to listening to [whatever secrets might be in] it: and anyone who now [or ever] tries to listen will [likewise] find a flame lying in wait for him! (Al-Jinn 72:9-10)

Therefore, the third opinion sounds the best.


Muhammad Mubashir Nazir

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Meaning of “Burooj” in the Quran
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