Tuesday 11 December 2018

Surah Al-Waqi'ah - The (Inevitable) Event: Summary of 56th Chapter of Holy Quran

Sūrah Al-Waqi'ah is the fifty sixth surah with 96 ayahs with three rukus, part of the 27th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an.

The surah by the subject it contains is described by many as the Meccan surah. The main theme revolves around the Day of Judgment, rather it very beautifully paints the End Day with lot of details leaving no ambiguity in the minds of the believers and the disbelievers as to how  they will be treated and awarded and rewarded. Though it is a pity that despite forewarning the pagans of Makkah of the punishment that would be meted out to them for their stubbornness to accept the reality of the Day of Resurrection and who continued to mock the Prophet of Allah for frightening them of something that they would not be able to see as they would be long dead.

In fact this surah explains the rewards and punishments as already mentioned in the previous surah, Surah Ar Rehman, the 55th surah of the Holy Qur'an. However, here three types of people are mentioned who would be rewarded and punished for the extra good, good and bad deeds.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been reported as saying that whoever recites Al-Waqi'ah every night "shall never be afflicted by need". For this reason, the chapter is one of the most recited of the Quran.

Let us now read explanation of the Surah segmented into portions as per the subject matter:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

The opening of the surah adequately signifies that it is to answer those pagans and disbelievers who would often mock Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) whenever He talked of the afterlife.
1. When the Event (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) befalls. 2. And there can be no denying of its befalling. 3. It will bring low (some); (and others) it will exalt; 4. When the earth will be shaken with a terrible shake. 5. And the mountains will be powdered to dust. 6. So that they will become floating dust particles.
The mention of earthquake here is not the ordinary, or even severe earthquakes, that we witness, which are mostly restricted to an area. But this extraordinary earthquake will be so violent and forceful that it will shake the whole earth to its depths all of a sudden, and it will experience a tremendous jolt and tremors all through.

Having painted the disastrous and inevitable day, Allah mentions three categories of people: the "the foremost", "the companions of the right" and "the companions of the left".The first two groups will enter paradise while the companions of the left will go to hell. Here, "the right" is associated with goodness, the righteous will be seated to the right of God's throne and receive their records of deeds in their right hand. The "foremost" refers to a special group of people who will have even better fate than the companion of the right in the afterlife. 
7. And you (all) will be in three kinds (i.e. separate groups). 8. So those on the Right Hand (i.e. those who will be given their Records in their right hands), Who will be those on the Right Hand? (As a respect for them, because they will enter Paradise). 9. And those on the Left Hand (i.e. those who will be given their Record in their left hands), Who will be those on the Left Hand? (As a disgrace for them, because they will enter Hell). 
The Foremost category on the Day of resurrection will be the most blessed people and will be rewarded the best of the paradise, the Jannat ul Fibrous:
10. And those foremost [(in Islamic Faith of Monotheism and in performing righteous deeds) in the life of this world on the very first call for to embrace Islam,] will be foremost (in Paradise). 11. These will be those nearest to Allah. 12. In the Gardens of delight (Paradise). 13. A multitude of those (foremost) will be from the first generations (who embraced Islam). 14. And a few of those (foremost) will be from the later time (generations). 15. (They will be) on thrones woven with gold and precious stones, 16. Reclining thereon, face to face. 17. They will be served by immortal boys, 18. With cups, and jugs, and a glass from the flowing wine, 19. Where from they will get neither any aching of the head, nor any intoxication. 20. And fruit; that they may choose. 21. And the flesh of fowls that they desire. 22. And (there will be) Houris (fair females) with wide, lovely eyes (as wives for the pious), 23. Like unto preserved pearls. 24. A reward for what they used to do. 25. No dirty, false, evil vain talk will they hear therein, nor any sinful speech (like backbiting, etc.). 26. But only the saying of: Salam!, Salam! (greetings with peace) !
The people falling in the second category are called the People on the Right Hand. Usually, the right hand signifies positivity and here too the people are the blessed one, though a shade lower than that of the Foremost category:
27. And those on the Right Hand, - Who will be those on the Right Hand? 28. (They will be) among thorn-less lote trees, 29. Among Talh (banana-trees) with fruits piled one above another, 30. In shade long-extended, 31. By water flowing constantly, 32. And fruit in plenty, 33. Whose season is not limited, and their supply will not be cut off, 34. And on couches or thrones, raised high. 35. Verily, We have created them (maidens) of special creation. 36. And made them virgins. 37. Loving (their husbands only), equal in age. 38. For those on the Right Hand. 39. A multitude of those (on the Right Hand) will be from the first generation (who embraced Islam). 40. And a multitude of those (on the Right Hand) will be from the later times (generations).
And then the fate of those on the Left has been discussed in detail, telling the disbelievers of their fate and the painting of the picture of the hell which shows their permanent abode for defying the commandments of Allah and the invitation extended to them by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), which they repeatedly discarded:
41. And those on the Left Hand Who will be those on the Left Hand? 42. In fierce hot wind and boiling water, 43. And shadow of black smoke, 44. (That shadow) neither cool, nor (even) good, 45. Verily, before that, they indulged in luxury, 46. And were persisting in great sin (joining partners in worship along with Allah, committing murders and other crimes, etc.) 47. And they used to say: "When we die and become dust and bones, shall we then indeed be resurrected? 48. "And also our forefathers?"
Here the Prophet of Allah has been asked to stress on the gathering that will be held on the Day of Resurrection to to take stock of the deniers and mockers:
49. Say (O Muhammad ): "(Yes) verily, those of old, and those of later times. 50. "All will surely be gathered together for appointed Meeting of a known Day. 51. "Then moreover, verily, you the erring-ones, the deniers (of Resurrection)! 52. "You verily will eat of the trees of Zaqqum. 53. "Then you will fill your bellies therewith, 54. "And drink boiling water on top of it, 55. "So you will drink (that) like thirsty camels!" 56. That will be their entertainment on the Day of Recompense! 
The arguments from here to verse 74 provide the reasoning to prove both the doctrines of Tauhid and of Hereafter rationally. For it was there two basic doctrines of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) teaching that the people of Makkah were debating and objecting to at that time.
57. We created you, then why do you believe not? 58. Then tell Me (about) the human semen that you emit. 59. Is it you who create it (i.e. make this semen into a perfect human being), or are We the Creator? 60. We have decreed death to you all, and We are not unable, 61. To transfigure you and create you in (forms) that you know not. 62. And indeed, you have already known the first form of creation (i.e. the creation of Adam), why then do you not remember or take heed? 63. Tell Me! The seed that you sow in the ground. 64. Is it you that make it grow, or are We the Grower? 65. Were it Our Will, We could crumble it to dry pieces, and you would be regretful (or left in wonderment). 66. (Saying): "We are indeed Mughramun (i.e. ruined or lost the money without any profit, or punished by the loss of all that we spend for cultivation, etc.)! 67. "Nay, but we are deprived!" 68. Tell Me! The water that you drink. 69. Is it you who cause it from the rainclouds to come down, or are We the Causer of it to come down? 70. If We willed, We verily could make it salt (and undrinkable), why then do you not give thanks (to Allah)? 71. Tell Me! The fire which you kindle, 72. Is it you who made the tree thereof to grow, or are We the Grower? 73. We have made it a Reminder (for the Hell-fire, in the Hereafter); and an article of use for the travellers (and all the others, in this world). 74. Then glorify with praises the Name of your Lord, the Most Great. 
In the verse 75 below, the usage of La (in Fala) is not an extra character without meaning, as some of the scholars of Tafsir say. Rather it is used at the beginning of an oath when the oath is a negation. This is like when `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her said, "La by Allah! Allah's Messenger did not touch any woman's hand at all. So in this way, the meaning is, "No! I swear by the Mawaqi` of the stars. The matter is not as you people claim - about the Qur'an - that it is a result of magic or sorcery, rather it is an Honorable Qur'an.'' Ibn Jarir said, "Some of the scholars of the Arabic language said that the meaning of: 
75. So I swear by Mawaqi (setting or the mansions, etc.) of the stars (they traverse).  76. And verily, that is indeed a great oath, if you but know. 
The oath of stars above implies that just as the system of the celestial bodies is firm and stable, so also is this divine Word (The Holy Qur'an) firm and stable. Allah Who has created that system has also sent down this Word. Just as there exists perfect consistency and harmony among the countless stars and planets found in the countless galaxies of the universe, so also this Book presents a perfectly consistent, and systematic code of life in which detailed guidance has been given, on the basis of belief, about morals, modes of worship, civilization and culture, economic and social life, law and justice, peace and war, in short, about every aspect of human life. Then, just as the system of the heavens set and planned by God is stable and unalterable, and does not ever admit of the slightest variation, so also are the truths and instructions given , in this Book stable and unalterable: no part of these can be changed or displaced in any way. 
77. That (this) is indeed an honourable recital (the Noble Qur'an). 78. In a Book well-guarded (with Allah in the heaven i.e. Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz). 79. Which (that Book with Allah) none can touch but the purified (i.e. the angels). 80. A Revelation (this Qur'an) from the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). 81. Is it such a talk (this Qur'an) that you (disbelievers) deny?
In the verse 82, the word "rizq" probably means livelihood. 
82. And instead (of thanking Allah) for the provision He gives you, on the contrary, you deny Him (by disbelief)! 
Since the disbelieving Quraish regarded the message of the Quran as harmful to their economic interests and feared that if it succeeded it would deprive them of their means of livelihood, the verse may also mean this: You have made the denial of this Quran a question of your economic interests, and for you the question of the right and wrong is of no consequence; the only thing of real importance in your sight is the bread for the sake of which you would least hesitate to oppose the truth and adhere to the falsehood.

In conclusion, man has been warned, as if to say: "You may brad and boast as you like and may shut your eyes to the truths in your arrogance of independence, but death is enough to open your eyes. At death you become helpless: you cannot save your own parents; you cannot save your children; you cannot save your religious guided and beloved leaders. They all die in front of your vary eyes while you look on helplessly. If there is no supreme power ruling over you, and your this assumption is correct that you are all in all in the world, and there is no God, then why don't you restore to the dying person his soul?Just as you are helpless in this, so it is also beyond your power to stop Allah from calling the people to account and mete out rewards and punishments to them. You may or may not believe it, but every dying person will surely see his own end after death. If he belongs to those nearest to God, he will see the good end meant for them if he be from among the righteous, he will see the end prepared for the righteous; and if he be from among the deniers of the truth, he will see the end destined for the criminals.
83. Then why do you not (intervene) when (the soul of a dying person) reaches the throat? 84. And you at the moment are looking on, 85. But We (i.e. Our angels who take the soul) are nearer to him than you, but you see not, 86. Then why do you not, if you are exempt from the reckoning and recompense (punishment, etc.) 87. Bring back the soul (to its body), if you are truthful? 88. Then, if he (the dying person) be of the Muqarrabun (those brought near to Allah), 89. (There is for him) rest and provision, and a Garden of delights (Paradise). 90.  And if he (the dying person) be of those on the Right Hand, 91. Then there is safety and peace (from the Punishment of Allah) for (you as you are from) those on the Right Hand. 92. But if he (the dying person) be of the denying (of the Resurrection), the erring (away from the Right Path of Islamic Monotheism), 93. Then for him is entertainment with boiling water. 94. And burning in Hell-fire.
95. Verily, this! This is an absolute Truth with certainty. 96. So glorify with praises the Name of your Lord, the Most Great.

Uqbah bin Amir Juhni relates that when verse 96 was sent down the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded that the people put it in their ruku, i.e. they should recite Subhana-Rabbi-yal-Azim in the position of ruku in the Prayer. And when the verse Sabbi-hismi-Rabbi-kal-Aala was sent down, he enjoined that they put it in their sajdah, i.e. they should recite Subhana-Rabbi-yal-Aala in sajdah. (Musnad Ahmad, Abu Daud, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, Hakim). This shows that even the most minor details of the procedure enjoined by the Prophet (peace be upon him) for the Prayer are derived from the allusions given in the Quran.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrah Al-Waqi'ah 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 | 4 | 5 | 6 |
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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