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Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Holy Qur'an (Summary): Chapter 88 Surat Al-Ghāshiyah ( The Overwhelming Event )

Surat Al-Ghāshiyah, the 26-versed 88th chapter of the Holy Qur'an, 30th Part, is like most of the following chapters was revealed in Makkah and contain the similar messages of calling nonbelievers to Islam and tidings of reward and punishment in life that would befall on every born human being after he dies and is raised again on the Day of Judgment. 

According to a hadith, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to recite Surat Al-Ghāshiyah on the day of Jumu'ah after surah Al-Jumua (Surah 62). [3]

Surat Al-Ghāshiyah has mainly three parts, the warning for the wrongdoers and those who reject Allah's message and His messenger, the good tidings for those who choose the righteous path of truth as prescribed by Allah the Almighty, and the last part pertaining to the calling of nonbelievers / disbelievers and mis-believers to worship One true Allah, as have all previous prophets have been doing.

After drawing the attention of all alike about a day that will be so overwhelming that man will be drenched in fear in the first verse, the next six verses (2-7) speak of the wrath of Allah that will be for the people who refused to listen to Prophet of Allah (s) and mocked about a life of hereafter:
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
  1. Has there reached you the report of the Overwhelming [event]?
  2. [Some] faces, that Day, will be humbled,
  3. Working [hard] and exhausted.
  4. They will [enter to] burn in an intensely hot Fire.
  5. They will be given drink from a boiling spring.
  6. For them there will be no food except from a poisonous, thorny plant
  7. Which neither nourishes nor avails against hunger.
In the verses 8-16, the good tidings are explained for those who bring faith on Oneness of Allah and walked the righteous path:
  • [Other] faces, that Day, will show pleasure.
  • With their effort [they are] satisfied
  • In an elevated garden,
  • Wherein they will hear no unsuitable speech.
  • Within it is a flowing spring.
  • Within it are couches raised high
  • And cups put in place
  • And cushions lined up
  • And carpets spread around.
Then Allah throws a number of questions to the non believers in verses 17-20 with a surprise that even after seeing the miracles and landmarks they see in their daily life whether at home or outside or while traveling, they still do not accept the divinity and Oneness of Allah, Who alone is the creator of everything that has been created?
  • Do (these unbelievers) not observe the camels: how they were created?
  • And the sky: how it was raised high?
  • And the mountains: how they were fixed?
  • And the earth: how it was spread out?
The best explanation of verses 17-20 is given by Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi in his Tafhim al Qur'an:[2]
Do not these people, who frown and scorn the teaching of Tauhid (oneness of Allah) and the news of the Hereafter being given by the Qur'an, observe the common things which they experience daily in their lives? Do they never consider how the camels, on whom their whole life activity in the Arabian desert depends, came into being, endowed precisely with the same characteristics as were required for the beast needed in their desert life? When they go on their journeys, they see the sky, the mountains, or the earth. Let them ponder over these three phenomena and consider as to how the sky was stretched above them, how the mountains were erected and how the earth was spread beneath them? Has all this come about without the skill and craftsmanship of an All- Powerful, All Wise Designer? If they acknowledge that a Creator has created all this with great wisdom and power and that no one else is an associate with Him in their creation, why then do they refuse to accept Him alone as their Lord and Sustainer? And if they acknowledge that that God had the power to create all this, then on what rational ground do they hesitate to acknowledge that that God also has the power to bring about Resurrection, to recreate man, and to make Hell and Heaven?
In the last six verses (21-26), Allah then advises His Prophet (s) to only counsel the non believers and in no way 'compel' them to abide by the divine commandments, for that will be taken care of Allah Himself when the time comes:
  • So render good counsel, for you are simply required to counsel,
  • and are not invested with the authority to compel them.
  • But whoever will turn away (from the Truth),
  • Allah will chastise him with the most terrible chastisement.
  • Surely to Us is their return;
  • and then it is for Us to call them to account.
In view of the Divine message above, we must make an endeavour to call non / dis / mis-believers to the truth as contained in the commandments of Allah in the Holy Qur'an. But in no way we should force anyone to accept our faith for it is Allah who creates a space in the hearts of the people to accept His message. We must therefore continue to exhibit the message of Allah through our actions and way of life, for actions speak louder than words to send home the message rather than persuasion.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Surat Al-Ghāshiyah 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 |
An effort has been made to gather explanation of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic souses and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. However, those wanting detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to sites the references of which are given above.

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