Monday, July 30, 2018

The Holy Qur'an: Chapter 99 Sūrat az-Zalzalah ( The End day Earthquake )

The ending chapters of the Holy Qur'an carry almost the same message: Warnings and cautions from Allah for those who did bad deeds and disobeyed commandants of Allah and reward for those who followed the path shown in various chapters of the Holy Qur'an. And this chapter is no exception.

This chapter warns the wrongdoers of a huge earthquake that would bring the world to an end, destroying everything over it and throwing out what is contained under the earth, even the dead long since.

Before commenting on the text of Sūrat az-Zalzalah, please read the English translation of the Sūrat az-Zalzalah to understand its plain meaning / translation :
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
  • When the earth is shaken with its (final) earthquake (Az Zalzalah).
  • And when the earth throws out its burdens,
  • And man will say: “What is the matter with it?”
  • That Day it will declare its information (about all what happened over it of good or evil).
  • Because your Lord has inspired it.
  • That Day mankind will proceed in scattered groups that they may be shown their deeds.
  • So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it.
  • And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it.
This chapter in fact paints the doomsday scenario when massive and violent earthquakes will jolt and shake the entire earth, though it is known whether this would include the entire universe or our earth alone, which is certainly the case. All mighty structures that architects and countries boast today will fall like a pack of cards and there will be fires all over.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been quoted as informing: "The closer we get to the end of time, the more frequent earthquakes will become." And this is indeed reflected by the reality; just checking their increased occurrence over the past 2 decades bears this out. [3]

The mention of such massive life ending quakes have been mentioned in many parts of the Holy Qur'an:
“When the sky splits, the stars fall, the oceans boil, when graves are overturned.” (Quran 82: 1-4)
“Do not forget the End Day when the sun is folded and will lose its light. When the stars fall down and cease to exist. When the mountains are made to fly about. When the pregnant camels are abandoned by their owners (people will have no interest in their valuables). When even the wild beasts are gathered. When the oceans are set alight to boil. When souls are joined.” (Quran 81:1-7)
And then the graves would be split open and the dead would come to life and would ask what has happened and why they had been waken up from their slumber. This would include all dead, whether they were buried or drowned or frozen on the mountains.

According to Michael Sells, the earth opening up and bearing forth her secrets in this surah is indicative of a birth metaphor. The earth al-'Ard in the feminine gender bears forth of how her lord revealed the final secret to her. Human beings will then realize that the moment of accountability has arrived. This meticulous accountability will reflect good and evil deeds that might have seemed insignificant at the time. [2]

In an other explanation of the verse 2, it is opined that the word ‘akhraja’ used here is a strong word – it often refers to something being pushed or forced out. The burdens being thrown off are all the deeds, corruption and pollution of humans over the millennium of time.  The image created here is one of the Earth unable to digest the corruption of humanity, and finally in a state of sickness vomiting the unnatural, unwanted deeds of its inhabitants. [3]

The last two verses spell out very clearly who will be pardoned and who will be thrown into the burning hell forever. Such are the ways Allah forewarns the wrongdoers to still repent and come back to the path of truth, lest that day that will be anytime catches them unguarded and unprepared. That day there would be no going back, no forgiveness and no pardons, though Alla is all forgiving and merciful. And He may pardon someone with mountain loads of sins but one small act of kindness or good deed, or He may punish someone with mountain loads of good deed but one small act of bad deed. So before counting on Allah's mercy, do good now for Allah's wrath is unbearable.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat az-Zalzalah with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand)

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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