Skip to main content
fakāna
فَكَانَ
And was
qāba
قَابَ
(at) a distance
qawsayni
قَوْسَيْنِ
(of) two bow-(lengths)
aw
أَوْ
or
adnā
أَدْنَىٰ
nearer.

Fakaana qaaba qawsaini aw adnaa

Sahih International:

And was at a distance of two bow lengths or nearer.

1 A. J. Arberry

two bows' length away, or nearer,

2 Abdul Haleem

until he was two bow-lengths away or even closer––

3 Abdul Majid Daryabadi

Till he was two bows length off or yet nearer.

4 Abdullah Yusuf Ali

And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer;

5 Abul Ala Maududi

until he was two bows' length away, or nearer.

6 Ahmed Ali

Until a space of two bow (arcs) or even less remained,

7 Ahmed Raza Khan

So the distance between the Spectacle and the beloved was only two arms’ length, or even less. (The Heavenly Journey of Prophet Mohammed – peace and blessings be upon him – was with body and soul.)

8 Ali Quli Qarai

until he was within two bows’ length or even nearer,

9 Ali Ünal

So he was (so near that there was left only the distance between) the strings of two bows (put adjacent to each other) or even nearer (than that).

10 Amatul Rahman Omar

So that he became (as it were) one chord to two bows or closer still.

11 English Literal

So he was (a) short measure of length (of) two arm`s/bow`s (lengths) or nearer .

12 Faridul Haque

So the distance between the Spectacle and the beloved was only two arms’ length, or even less. (The Heavenly Journey of Prophet Mohammed – peace and blessings be upon him – was with body and soul.)

13 Hamid S. Aziz

Until he was two bows distant or closer still.

14 Hilali & Khan

And was at a distance of two bows' length or (even) nearer,

15 Maulana Mohammad Ali

Then he drew near, drew nearer yet,

16 Mohammad Habib Shakir

So he was the measure of two bows or closer still.

17 Mohammed Marmaduke William Pickthall

Till he was (distant) two bows' length or even nearer,

18 Muhammad Sarwar

until he was as close to him as the distance of two bows, or even less.

19 Qaribullah & Darwish

he was but two bows' length or even nearer,

20 Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri

And was at a distance of two bows' length or less.

21 Wahiduddin Khan

until he was two bow-lengths away or even closer

22 Talal Itani

He was within two bows’ length, or closer.

23 Tafsir jalalayn

until he was, from him [the Prophet], within the length of two bows away or [even] nearer, than that, until he [the Prophet] had regained consciousness and his fright had subsided,

24 Tafseer Ibn Kathir

And was at a distance of two bows` length or less.

means, Jibril came closer to Muhammad when Jibril was descending to him on earth. At that time, the distance between them became only two bow lengths, when the bows are extended to full length, according to Mujahid and Qatadah.

It was said that the meaning here is the distance between the bow's string and its wood center.

Allah's statement,
أَوْ أَدْنَى
(or less) indicates that the distance was as only as far described, not more. This type of usage is found in several instances in the Qur'an, such as,

ثُمَّ قَسَتْ قُلُوبُكُمْ مِّن بَعْدِ ذلِكَ فَهِىَ كَالْحِجَارَةِ أَوْ أَشَدُّ قَسْوَةً

Then, after that, your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even worse in hardness. (2;74)

The Ayah says that their hearts became not softer than rocks, but as hard and difficult as rocks, and more.

There is a similar Ayah,

يَخْشَوْنَ النَّاسَ كَخَشْيَةِ اللَّهِ أَوْ أَشَدَّ خَشْيَةً

fear men as they fear Allah or even more. (4;77),

and Allah's statement,

وَأَرْسَلْنَـهُ إِلَى مِاْيَةِ أَلْفٍ أَوْ يَزِيدُونَ

And We sent him to hundred thousand (people) or even more. (37;147),

indicating that they were not less than a hundred thousand, but that amount or more.

Therefore, this verifies the facts mentioned, leaving no doubt or means of refute. Similarly, Allah said,
فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَى
(And was at a distance of two bow lengths or less).

We stated before that it was Jibril who came down near the Prophet, according to A'ishah, the Mother of the faithful, Abdullah bin Mas`ud, Abu Dharr and Abu Hurayrah. We will mention their statements about this soon afterwards, Allah willing.

Ibn Jarir recorded that Abdullah bin Mas`ud said about this Ayah,
فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَى
(And was at a distance of two bow lengths or less).

Allah's Messenger said,

رَأَيْتُ جِبْرِيلَ لَهُ سِتُّمِايَةِ جَنَاح

I saw Jibril; he had six hundred wings.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Talq bin Ghannam said that Za'idah said that Ash-Shaybani said,

"I asked Zirr about the Ayah,

فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَى

فَأَوْحَى إِلَى عَبْدِهِ مَا أَوْحَى

And was at a distance of two bow lengths or less. So (Allah) revealed to His servant whatever He revealed.

Zirr said,

"Abdullah narrated to us that Muhammad saw Jibril having six hundred wings."

Allah's statement,

فَأَوْحَى إِلَى عَبْدِهِ مَا أَوْحَى