Juz' 20 of the Quran

Koran, Paris, France, Europe
Godong / Getty Images

The main division of the Qur’an is into chapter (surah) and verse (ayat). The Qur’an is additionally divided into 30 equal sections, called juz’ (plural: ajiza). The divisions of juz’ do not fall evenly along chapter lines. These divisions make it easier to pace the reading over a month’s period, reading a fairly equal amount each day. This is particularly important during the month of Ramadan when it is recommended to complete at least one full reading of the Qur’an from cover to cover.

What Chapter(s) and Verses Are Included in Juz’ 20?

The twentieth juz’ of the Qur’an starts from verse 56 of the 27th chapter (Al Naml 27:56) and continues to verse 45 of the 29th chapter (Al Ankabut 29:45).

When Were the Verses of This Juz’ Revealed?

The verses of this section were largely revealed in the middle of the Makkan period, as the Muslim community faced rejection and intimidation from the pagan population and leadership of Makkah. The final part of this section (Chapter 29) was revealed at around the time the Muslim community attempted to migrate to Abyssinia to escape Makkan persecution.

Select Quotations

  • "Could there be any divine power besides Allah?" (repeated numerous times in Surah An-Naml, as a challenge to unbelievers)
  • "Thus arrogantly, without the least good sense, did he (Pharoah) and his hosts behave on earth - just as if they thought that they would never have to appear before Us [for judgment]! And so We seized him and his hosts and cast them into the sea. And behold what happened in the end to those evildoers." (28:39-40)
  • "These (believers) it is that shall receive a twofold reward for having been patient in adversity, and having repelled evil with good, and having spent on others out of what We provided for them as sus­tenance. And, whenever they heard frivolous talk, having turned away from it and said: 'We shall be accountable for our deeds, and you, your deeds. Peace be upon you - but we do not seek out the ignorant." (28:54-55)

    What Is the Main Theme of This Juz’?

    In the second half of Surah An-Naml (Chapter 27), the pagans of Makkah are challenged to look at the universe around them and witness the majesty of Allah. Only Allah has the power to create such bounties, the argument continues, and their idols can do nothing for anyone. The verses firmly question polytheists about the shaky foundation of their faith. ("Could there be any divine power besides Allah?")

    The following chapter, Al-Qasas, relates in detail the story of the Prophet Moses (Musa). The narrative continues from the stories of the prophets in the previous two chapters. The unbelievers in Makkah who were questioning the validity of the Prophet Muhammad's mission had these lessons to learn:

    • Allah can do whatsoever He wills
    • Prophethood is a blessing granted by Allah to certain people, for reasons we cannot always see
    • Although perhaps seeming humble and weak, prophets are victorious with Allah's help
    • Even if a prophet comes with miracles, unbelievers always question and doubt him

    An analogy is then drawn between the experiences of the Prophets Moses and Muhammad, peace be upon them. The unbelievers are warned of the fate that awaits them for their arrogance and rejection of the Truth.

    Towards the end of this section, Muslims are encouraged to stay strong in their faith and be patient in the face of extreme persecution from unbelievers. At the time, opposition in Makkah had become unbearable and these verses instructed the Muslims to seek a place of peace - to give up their homes before giving up their faith. At the time, some members of the Muslim community sought refuge in Abyssinia.

    Two of the three chapters that make up this section of the Quran are named after animals: Chapter 27 "The Ant" and Chapter 29 "The Spider." These animals are cited as examples of Allah's majesty. Allah created the ant, which is one of the tiniest of creatures, but which forms a complex social community. The spider, on the other hand, symbolizes something which looks complex and intricate but is in fact quite flimsy.

    A light wind or swipe of the hand can destroy it, just like the unbelievers build up things that they think will hold strong, instead of relying on Allah.