Muhammad Asad Commentary & Translation

The participial noun muqw is derived from the verb qawiya, "it became deserted" or "desolate".

From the same root is derived the noun qawa (or qiwa), which signifies "desert", "wilderness" or "wasteland" as well as "hunger" or "starvation".

Hence, muqw denotes "one who is hungry" as well as "one who is lost [or "who wanders"] in a deserted place".

In the above verse this expression is evidently used tropically, for it is difficult to imagine that, as some commentators assume, it relates merely to "wayfarers in the desert".

My composite rendering of al-muqwin as "all who are lost and hungry in the wilderness", on the other hand, is literal and tropical at the same time, inasmuch as it describes people who are lonely, unfortunate and confused, and who hunger after human warmth and spiritual light.


(56:73)  It is We who have made it a means to remind [you of Us], and a comfort for all who are lost and hungry in the wilderness [of their lives]. [25]