Sūrat an-Najm (Arabic: سورة النجم, "The Star") is the 53rd chapter (surah) of the Qur'an with 62 verses (āyāt). The surah that opens with the oath of the Divine One swearing by every one of the stars, as they descend and disappear beneath the horizon, that Muhammad is indeed God’s awaited Messenger. It takes its name from Ayat#1, which mentions “the stars” (najm). The surah confirms the divine source of the Prophet’s message and refers to his ascension to heaven during the Night Journey (Ayah#1 ff.). The surah refutes the claims of the disbelievers about the goddesses and the angels (ayah#19 ff.), and lists several truths about God’s power. It closes with a warning of the imminent Day of Judgement.
The first eighteen verses of this sura are considered to be some of the earliest revelations of the Qur'an. These verses address the legitimacy of Muhammad’s prophetic visions. The sura begins with the divine voice swearing by the collapsing star that “Your companion,” referring to Muhammad, has not gone mad, nor does he speak out of his desire. The passage evokes the process of vision by tracing the movement along the highest horizon and then coming down and drawing near to the distance of “two bows” length. The passage ends with the affirmation of the validity of the vision by stating that the heart of the prophet “did not lie in what it saw.”
The surah is distinguished as being the first that required Muslims to prostrate, or perform sajdah, when it is recited, according to Tafsir Ibn Kathir and a number of hadiths. The sura claims that, when it was first narrated by Muhammad in Mecca, all Muslims and non-Muslims who heard the recitation prostrated to God upon its completion due to the effect that the words had upon them.
The sura is also known for referencing the star Sirius in ayah 49 where it is given the name الشِّعْرَى (transliteration: aš-ši‘rā or ash-shira; the leader). The verse is: "وأنَّهُ هُوَ رَبُّ الشِّعْرَى", "That He is the Lord of Sirius (the Mighty Star)." (An-Najm:49) Ibn Kathir said in his commentary "that it is the bright star, named Mirzam Al-Jawza' (Sirius), which a group of Arabs used to worship." The alternate name Aschere, used by Johann Bayer, is derived from this.
The last line of An-Najm: "So prostrate to Allah and worship [Him]."