Sunday 29 November 2020

Sürah An-Naba -The Tidings: Exegesis 78th chapter of Quran

Sürah An-Naba " النبأ " is the seventy eighth sürah with 40 āyāt with two rukus, part of the 30th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'ān.

This Sürah  derives its name from the word an-Naba in the second verse. This is not only a name but also a title of its subject matter, for Naba implies the news of Resurrection and Hereafter and the whole Surah is devoted to the same theme.

The beautiful Makkan Sürah is not quite so early as the last (S. lxxvii) nor quite so late as S lxxvi , but nearer in time to the later. Its theme also is the same as of Surah Al-Mursalat, i. e. to affirm the Resurrection and Hereafter, and to warn the people of the consequences of acknowledging or dis-acknowledging it. It sets forth Allah's loving care in a fine nature-passage, and deduces from the Promise of the Future, when Evil will be destroyed and Good will come to its own; and invites all who have the will, to seek refuge with their Lord.
  • Ruku One: Verses 1-30 Creation of heavens , earth, mountains and vegetation clearly points out towards the day of judgement and Resurrection and man's accountability in the court of Allah
  • Ruku Two: Verses 31-40 The righteous will be well pleased and disbelievers will wish that they could remain merely dust
We have already presented the overview / summary of the sürah. Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. You may also listen to its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles at the end of the post:

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

Ruku One: Verses 1-30
Verses 1 – 4 A question of belief:

عَمَّ يَتَسَآءَلُوۡنَ​ۚ‏ 
( 1 )   About what are they asking one another?

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Great News: usually understood to mean the News or Message of the Resurrection or the Hereafter, about which there are various schools of thought among the Jews and Christians and other nations. There is practically nothing about the Resurrection in the Old Testament, and the Jewish sect of Sadducees [The Sadducees (/ˈsædjəˌsiːz/; Hebrew: צְדוּקִים‎ Ṣĕdûqîm) were a sect or group of Jews who were active in Judea during the Second Temple period, starting from the second century BCE through the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE.] even in the time of Christ denied the Resurrection altogether. The Pagan ideas of a future life-if any-varied from place to place and from time to time. Even in the early Christian Church, as we learn from Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians, there were contentions in that little community (1, Corinthians, i. 11), and some definitely denied the resurrection of the dead (ib., xv. 12). Great News may also be translated Great Message or a Message Supreme as I have translated at xxxviii. 67. In that case it would refer to the Qur'an, or the Message of Revelation, or the Message of the Holy Prophet, about which there was great contention in those days. As this Message also lays great stress on the Day of Judgment and the Resurrection, the practical result by either mode of interpretation amounts to the same.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Refutation against the Idolaters' Denial of the Occurrence of the Day of Judgement: In rejection of the idolaters' questioning about the Day of Judgement, due to their denial of its occurrence, Allah says, (What are they asking about About the great news,) meaning, what are they asking about They are asking about the matter of the Day of Judgement, and it is the great news. Meaning the dreadful, horrifying, overwhelming information.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The actual word is تَسَآءَلُ. It means to mutually ask one another about something. An inquiry is at times merely done to make fun and indulge in idle talk. Here this inquiry is meant to make fun.In other words, the implication is: What is it that they are making of and asking while pretending not to know the answer. 

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: The tone of the surah can be gauged from this question with which it begins. This style informs us that the disbelievers will be told that what they are making fun of is not something to mock and make fun of; if they only think, it is something which should worry them to death and lament what they have been doing.(Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 157)

Nouman Ali Khan Explanation:
It may be added for information that surahs are connected to each other so it's important to explore what was being discussed in the previous surah before we go any further. The fundamental theme in the previous, i.e. Surah 77 AI-Mursalaat is the mukaddhibeen, the people who deliberately lie against the truth; they were propagators of falsehood and would try to invalidate the truthful people. The surah repeats may times throughout "Woe, the day, to the deniers."  Now this surah begins with the question: About what are the asking one another?

Here, Allah is commenting on a discussion that is taking place between the disbelievers. In general, when a group of people are mutual discussing a question among themselves, it is done for one of two reasons: either they're genuinely curious and want an answer to their question or they're being sarcastic and trying to undermine the other person.

The Prophet (s.a.w) was presenting people with phenomenal truths of the afterlife; he was telling them that huge things were going to happen (like the sun rising from the west, like people being resurrected after dying) and disbelievers would answer by saying, "Do you know what he is talking about?" They were trying yo take him look insane; they were trying to insult him. In the previous surah, takhzeeb (lying) is talked about; one of the most effective ways of doing that mocking or undermining the other person asking sarcastic questions amongst themselves.

In this ayah, we realize that while the disbelievers are discussing this amongst themselves, there's a third party listening to their discourse: Allah. Allah is responding to their sarcastic comments in this surah. We learn that, in this ayah, Allah is depicting His reaction; He has taken offense to their sarcasm and the way they speak about the Hereafter.

عَنِ النَّبَاِ الۡعَظِيۡمِۙ‏
( 2 )   About the great news -

الَّذِىۡ هُمۡ فِيۡهِ مُخۡتَلِفُوۡنَؕ‏
( 3 )   That over which they are in disagreement.
The great news: the news of the Resurrection and Hereafter, which the people of Makkah heard with amazement, then raised questions and doubts about it in their assemblies. When they met each other they would ask: Did you ever hear that the dead will be resurrected to life? Is it credible that life will be infused once again into the bones which have decayed and become rotten? Does it stand to reason that the former and the latter generations will rise up and gather together at one place? Is it possible that these huge mountains which are so firmly set in the earth will fly about like flakes of wool? Can it so happen that the sun and the moon and the stars should be extinguished and the order and system of the world be overturned and upset? What has happened to him who was until yesterday a sane and wise man among us? Today he is giving us strange, impossible news. Where were this Hell and Heaven of which we had never heard from him before? Wherefrom have they appeared suddenly so that he has started depicting them so vividly before us?

Another meaning of fi-hi mukhtalifun also can be: As these people themselves have not agreed on any one view about the end of the world, they hold varying views about it. Some one has been influenced by the Christian belief and believes in the life after death but thinks that the second life would not be a physical but only a spiritual life. Another does not deny the Hereafter absolutely but doubts whether it was possible or not. The Quran relates the view of these very people when it says: We do only guess: we are not certain. ( Surah Al-Jathiyah, Ayat 32). And another plainly said: There is no other life than this present life, and we shall never be raised back to life after our death. ( Surah 6. Al- Anaam, Ayat 29). Then, there were some atheists, who said: Life is only this worldly life of ours. Here we shall die and live and nothing but the change of time destroys us. (Surah Al-Jathiyah, Ayat 24). There were some others who were not atheistic but they regarded the second life as impossible. According to them it was beyond the power of God to raise the dead back to life. They said: Who will give life to these bones when they are rotten. ( Surah YaSeen, Ayat 78). Their different views by themselves were a proof that they had no knowledge in this regard; they were only conjecturing and guessing. Had they any knowledge, they would have agreed on one view. (For further information, see explanation of verse 8 of Surah 51. Adh-Dhariyat).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
meaning, the people are divided into two ideas about it. There are those who believe in it and those who disbelieve in it. Then Allah threatens those who deny the Day of Judgement by saying:

كَلَّا سَيَعۡلَمُوۡنَۙ‏ 
( 4 )   No! They are going to know.
That is, whatever they say about the Hereafter is false, and all their concepts about it are wrong.

That is, the time is not far off when the same thing about which they are expressing all sorts of meaningless doubts and misgivings, will appear before them as a reality. Then they will realize that what the Messenger (peace be upon him) had foretold was absolutely true and what they were saying on the basis of conjecture and speculation had no truth in it.

Verses 5 – 16 God’s generosity towards humankind:

ثُمَّ كَلَّا سَيَعۡلَمُوۡنَ‏ 
( 5 )   Then, no! They are going to know.

اَلَمۡ نَجۡعَلِ الۡاَرۡضَ مِهٰدًا ۙ‏ 
( 6 )   Have We not made the earth a resting place?
Have We not spread the earth like a bed,4
4. Enough light has been thrown at several places in the meaning of the Quran on the supreme wisdom and power of Allah that underlies His making the earth a carpet, i.e. an abode of perfect peace and rest. For more information, see explanation of verses 60-61, 64 of Surah 27. An-Naml; verse 35 of Surah 36. Ya Seen; verse 64 of Surah 40. Al-Momin; verse 10 of Surah 43. Az-Zukhruf; verse 5 of Surah 45. Al-Jathiyah; verse 15 of Surah 50. Qaaf.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Mentioning Allah's Power, and the Proof of His Ability to resurrect the Dead: Then, Allah begins to explain His great ability to create strange things and amazing matters. He brings this as a proof of His ability to do whatever He wishes concerning the matter of the Hereafter and other matters as well. He says, (Have We not made the earth as a bed,) meaning, an established, firm and peaceful resting place that is subservient to them.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
See explanation to to xvi. 15. Cf. also xiii. 3 and xv. 19. The spacious expanse of the earth may be compared to a carpet, to which the mountains act as pegs. The Signs of Allah are thus enumerated: the great panorama of outer nature (verses 6-7); the creation of Man in pairs, with the succession of rest and work fitting in with the succession of night and day (verses 8-11); the firmaments above, with their splendid lights (verses 12-13); and the clouds and rain and abundant harvests, which knit sky and earth and man together (verses 14-16). These point to Allah, and Allah's Message points to the Future Life.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The next few verses substantiate the Day of Judgement in such a conclusive manner by presenting some manifestations of God’s Providence in the world around man that no upright person can deny them and is forced to confess that a Day of Judgement has an appointed time. 

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: If man reflects on the world around him, he will conclude that it is impossible that the Almighty who is nurturing and nourishing him in such an elaborate manner not bring a day in which He rewards the grateful and the obedient and punishes the ungrateful and the disobedient. Providence always entails accountability. If this does not happen then it would only mean that the grateful and the ungrateful are alike in the eyes of the Creator. This is such an unbecoming and unseemly conclusion that it cannot be attributed to the Almighty. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 159)

وَّالۡجِبَالَ اَوۡتَادًا ۙ‏ 
( 7 )   And the mountains as stakes?
For the wisdom of creating mountains on the earth, see verse 15 of Surah 16. An-Nahl; verse 61 of Surah 27. An-Naml; verse 27 of Surah 77. Al-Mursalat.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
 He made them as pegs for the earth to hold it in place, make it stable and firm. This is so that it may be suitable for dwelling and not quake with those who are in it. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
See 16:15 - "He has placed firm mountains on earth, lest it sway with you" - and the corresponding note [11], which explains the reference to mountains as "pegs". - The whole of this passage (verses {6-16}) is meant to illustrate God's almightiness and creativeness, as if to say, "Is not He who has created the universe equally able to resurrect and re-create man in whatever form He deems necessary?"

وَّخَلَقۡنٰكُمۡ اَزۡوَاجًا ۙ‏ 
( 8 )   And We created you in pairs
For explanation of the supreme wisdom that underlies the creation of men and women into pairs, see E.N. 69 of Surah Al-Furqan; E. Ns 28 to 30 of Surah Ar-Room, E.N. 31 of Surah YaSeen; E.N. 77 of Surah Ash-Shura; E N. 12 of Surah Az-Zukhruf; E.N. 25 of Surah Al-Qiyamah.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
meaning, male and female, both of them enjoying each other, and by this means procreation is achieved. 

This is similar to Allah's statement, (And among His signs is this that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy.) (30:21)

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
I.e., "with the same creative power We have created the miraculous polarity of the two sexes in you and in other animated beings". The phenomenon of polarity, evident throughout the universe (see 36:36 and the corresponding note [18]), is further illustrated in verses {9-ll}. 

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
So that a husband and wife can receive solace and comfort from one another. Here the style of the verse though is in the form of a statement yet is contextually linked to the interrogative particle found in اَلَمۡ نَجۡعَلِ الۡاَرۡضَ مِہٰدًا. The translation takes this into account.

وَّجَعَلۡنَا نَوۡمَكُمۡ سُبَاتًا ۙ‏ 
( 9 )   And made your sleep [a means for] rest
The explanation of the wisdom for which Allah Almighty has placed a desire for sleep in man’s nature in order to make him fit for work in the world, and which impels him to a few hours’ sleep after every few hours of work, has been given in verse 21 Surah 30. Ar-Room.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
meaning, a cessation of movement in order to attain rest from the frequent repetition and going about in search of livelihood during the day. A similar Ayah has been mentioned previously in Surat Al-Furqan.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Thus Zamakhshari, stressing the primary significance of subat as "cutting-off" (qat'), i.e., "death"; also the famous second-century philologist Abu 'Ubaydah Ma'mar ibn al-Muthanna, who (as quoted by Razi) explains the above Qur'anic phrase as an "analogue (shibh) of death".

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The actual word is: سُبَاتًا. Its real meaning is “to cut;” sleep is termed as سُبَات because it breaks action and is beneficial in providing comfort and solace to a person.

وَّجَعَلۡنَا الَّيۡلَ لِبَاسًا ۙ‏ 
( 10 )   And made the night as clothing

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The darkness of the night is as a covering. Just as a covering protects us from exposure to cold or heat, so this covering gives us spiritual respite from the buffets of the material world, and from the tiring activities of our own inner exertions. The rest in sleep (in verse 9) is supplemented by the covering of the night with which we are provided by Allah.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The night covers a person like his apparel and provides him with protection.

وَّجَعَلۡنَا النَّهَارَ مَعَاشًا‏ 
( 11 )   And made the day for livelihood
That is, the night has been made dark so that protected from light, you could enjoy a peaceful sleep more easily and made the day bright for the reason that you could work for your livelihood with greater ease and facility. Reference has been made to only one benefit out of countless benefits of the continuous alternation of night and day regularly on the earth to tell that all this is not happening without a purpose or accidentally, but there is supreme wisdom underlying it, which has a deep connection with your own immediate interests. The darkness that was needed for the peace and rest of your body in view of its structure has been provided in the night and the light that was needed for earning livelihood has been provided in the day. This arrangement that has been made precisely in accordance with your needs by itself testifies that it could not be possible without the wisdom of a Wise Being. 

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
meaning, `We made it radiant, luminous, and shining so that the people would be able to move about in it.' By it they are able to come and go for their livelihood, earning, business dealings and other than that as well.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
"Subsistence" in English only partly covers the idea of ma'ash, which includes every kind of life activity. The Day is specially illuminated, so runs the figure of speech, in order that these life-activities of all kinds may be fully exercised.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
According to Zamakhshari, the term ma'ash ("that whereby one lives") is here synonymous with "life". In the polarity of sleep (or "death") and wakefulness (or "life") we see the allusion to bodily death and subsequent resurrection already touched upon in 6:60.

وَّبَنَيۡنَا فَوۡقَكُمۡ سَبۡعًا شِدَادًا ۙ‏ 
( 12 )   And constructed above you seven strong [heavens]
Strong, in the sense that their boundaries are so strongly fortified that no change whatever occurs in them, nor does any of the countless stars and planets in the heavens, violating these boundaries, collide with the other, nor falls down to the earth. (For further explanation see verse 29 of Surah 2. Al-Baqarah; verse 2 of Surah 13. Ar-Ra'ad; verses 16, 18 of Surah 15. Al-Hijr; verse 17 of Surah 23. Al-Mominoon; verse 17 of Surah 31. Luqman; verse 40 of Surah 36. Ya Seen; Verse 6, 7 of Surah 37. As-Saaffat; verse 64 of Surah 40. Al-Momin; verse 6 of Surah 50. Qaaf).

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Lit., "seven firm ones", indicating the multiplicity of cosmic systems (see surah {2}, note [20]).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
meaning, the seven heavens in their vastness, loftiness, perfection, precision, and adornment with both stable and moving stars. Thus, Allah says:

وَّ جَعَلۡنَا سِرَاجًا وَّهَّاجًا
( 13 )   And made [therein] a burning lamp
A bright, blazing lamp: the sun. The word wahhaj used for the sun means both intensely hot and intensely bright. Hence our rendering. In this brief sentence, allusion has been made to a most wonderful and glorious sign of Allah Almighty’s power and wisdom which the sun is. Its diameter is 109 times that of the earth’s and its size more than 333,000 times that of the earth’s. Its temperature is 14,000,000°C. In spite of shining 93,000,000 miles away from the earth, its light and brightness is dazzling, and man can look at it with the naked eye only at the risk of losing his eye-sight. As for its heat, temperature in some parts of the earth reaches 140°F because of its radiation. It is only Allah Who by His wisdom has placed the earth at the right distance from it, neither it is too hot for being close to it, nor too cold for being very far away from it. For this very reason life of man, animal and vegetable became possible on it. Measureless treasures of energy from it are reaching the earth and sustaining life. It helps ripen our crops to provide sustenance to every creature; its heat causes vapors to rise from the seas, which spread to different parts of the earth by means of the winds and fall as rain. In the sun Allah has kindled such a mighty furnace that has been constantly radiating light, heat and different kinds of rays throughout the entire solar system since millions and millions of years.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
That is, the sun. Cf. xxv. 61; xxxiii. 46 (where it is used metaphorically for the holy Prophet); and lxxi. 16.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
meaning, the radiant sun that gives light to all of the world. Its light glows for all of the people of the earth. Allah then says:

وَّاَنۡزَلۡنَا مِنَ الۡمُعۡصِرٰتِ مَآءً ثَجَّاجًا ۙ‏ 
( 14 )   And sent down, from the rain clouds, pouring water

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, "From the Mu`sirat means from the clouds.'' This was also stated by `Ikrimah, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Ath-Thawri, and it is preferred by Ibn Jarir. Al-Farra' said, "They are the clouds that are filled with rain, but they do not bring rain. This is like the woman being called Mu`sir when (the time of) her menstrual cycle approaches, yet she does not menstruate.'' 

This is as Allah says, (Allah is He Who sends the winds, so that they raise clouds, and spread them along the sky as He wills, and then break them into fragments, until you see rain drops come forth from their midst!) (30:48) meaning, from its midst.

Mujahid, Qatadah, and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas all said, "Thajjaj means poured out.'' At-Thawri said, "Continuous.'' Ibn Zayd said, "Abundant.'' In the Hadith of the woman with prolonged menstrual bleeding, when the Messenger of Allah said to her, (I suggest you to make an absorbent cloth for yourself.)'' Meaning, `dress the area with cotton.' The woman replied, "O Messenger of Allah! It (the bleeding) is too much for that. Verily, it flows in profusely (Thajja).'' This contains an evidence for using the word Thajj to mean abundant, continuous and flowing. And Allah knows best.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Note how the evidences of Allah and His beneficence arc set out in four groups. (1) Look to external nature on the earth around you (verses 6-7); (2) your own nature, physical, mental and spiritual (verses 8-11); (3) the starry heavens, and the glory of the sun (verses 12-13); and (4) the interdependence of earth, air, and sky in the cycle of water, clouds, rain, corn and gardens, all serving in their several ways to further the whole plan of the World as it affects us. Can you not then believe that a Creator who does this will sort out Good and Evil on an appointed Day with real justice and power?

لِّـنُخۡرِجَ بِهٖ حَبًّا وَّنَبَاتًا ۙ‏ 
( 15 )   That We may bring forth thereby grain and vegetation

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(That We may produce therewith corn and vegetation, and gardens that are Alfaf. verses 15-16) meaning, `so that We may bring out great abundance, goodness, benefit, and blessing through this water.' (grains) This refers to that which is preserved for (the usage) of humans and cattle.

(and vegetations) meaning, vegetables that are eaten fresh. (And gardens) meaning, gardens of various fruits, differing colors, and a wide variety of tastes and fragrances, even if it is ingathered at one location of the earth. 

This is why Allah says (And gardens that are Alfaf.) Ibn `Abbas and other said, "Alfaf means gathered.'' 

This is similar to Allah's statement, (And in the earth are neighboring tracts, and gardens of vines, and green crops, and date palms, growing into two or three from a single stem root, or otherwise, watered with the same water; yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat. Verily, in these things there are Ayat for the people who understand.) (13:4)

وَّجَنّٰتٍ اَلۡفَافًا ؕ‏ 
( 16 )   And gardens of entwined growth.
After presenting a number of the signs and testimonies, one after the other, in these verses, the deniers of the Resurrection and Hereafter have been exhorted, so as to say: If you consider the earth and the mountains and your own creation, your sleep and wakefulness, and the system of the day and night intelligently, and consider the well-fortified system of the universe and the shining sun in the heavens, the rain falling from the clouds and the vegetables growing thereby, you will see two things very clearly: first, that all this could neither come into existence without a mighty power, nor continue to exist and function so regularly; second, that in each of these great wisdom is working and nothing that happens here is purposeless. Now, only a foolish person could say that the Being Who by His power has brought these things into existence, does not have the power to destroy them and create them once again in some other form, and this also could be said only by an unreasonable person that the Wise Being Who has not done anything without purpose in this universe, has given to man in His world understanding and intelligence, discrimination between good and evil, freedom to obey or disobey, and powers of appropriation over countless of His creatures, without any purpose and design: whether man uses and employs the things granted by Him in the right way or the wrong way, it does not make any difference; whether man continues to do good throughout life till death, he will end up in the dust, or continues to do evil till death, he will likewise end up in the dust. Neither the virtuous man will receive any reward for the good deeds nor the bad man will be held accountable for his evil deeds. 

These very arguments for life after death and Resurrection and Hereafter have been given here and there in the Quran, e.g. see explanation of verse 2 of Surah 13. Ar-Ra'ad; verse 7 of Surah 22. Al-Hajj; verse 8 of Surah 30. Ar-Room; verses 8, 9 of Surah 34. Saba; verse 11 of Surah 37. As-Saaffat.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Implying that the overwhelming evidence of purpose and plan in all observable nature points to the existence of a conscious Creator who has "not created [anything of] this without meaning and purpose" (3:191), and who - as is stressed in the sequence - will one day pronounce His judgment on every human being's willingness or unwillingness to live up to the standards of morality made clear to him through inborn instinct as well as through divine revelation.

Verses 17- 30 A description of the Day of Resurrection and Hell

اِنَّ يَوۡمَ الۡفَصۡلِ كَانَ مِيۡقَاتًا ۙ‏ 
( 17 )   Indeed, the Day of Judgement is an appointed time -
This passage connects with verses {4-5}.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Explaining the Day of Decision and what occurs during it: Allah says about the Day of Decision -- and it is the Day of Judgement -- that it is at a fixed time, with a set appointment. Its time cannot be added to or decreased. No one knows its exact time except Allah. 

This is as Allah says, (And We delay it only for a term fixed.) (11:104)

يَّوۡمَ يُنۡفَخُ فِى الصُّوۡرِ فَتَاۡتُوۡنَ اَفۡوَاجًا ۙ‏ 
( 18 )   The Day the Horn is blown and you will come forth in multitudes
This implies the final sounding of the Trumpet at which all dead men will rise back to life forthwith. You implies not only those who were the addressees at that time but all those humans who will have been born from the beginning of creation till Resurrection. 

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Mujahid said, "Groups after groups.'' Ibn Jarir said, "This means that each nation will come with its Messenger. It is similar to Allah's statement, (The Day when We shall call together all human beings with their Imam.) (17:71)'' 

Al-Bukhari reported concerning the explanation of Allah's statement, (The Day when the Trumpet will be blown, and you shall come forth in crowds.) Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said, (That which is between the two blowings is forty.) Someone asked, "Is it forty days, O Abu Hurayrah'' But he (Abu Hurayrah) refused to reply, saying "no comment.'' They then asked, "Is it forty months'' But he (Abu Hurayrah) refused to reply, saying "no comment.'' They asked again, "Is it forty years'' But he (Abu Hurayrah) refused to reply, saying "no comment.'' (Abu Hurayrah added:) "

Then the Prophet went on to say, (Then Allah will send down a rain from the sky and the dead body will sprout just as a green plant sprouts. Every part of the last person will deteriorate except for one bone, and it is the coccyx bone (tailbone). From it the creation will be assembled on the Day of Judgement.)''

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The angel charged with the sounding of the Trumpet is Israfil. It will herald Judgment. Cf. 1. 20; also xxxix. 68, and lxix. 13.

وَّفُتِحَتِ السَّمَآءُ فَكَانَتۡ اَبۡوَابًا ۙ‏ 
( 19 )   And the heaven is opened and will become gateways
meaning, paths, and routes for the descending of the angels.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:+
A sign that the present order of things will have ceased to exist, and a new world will have come into being. Such a figure applies to the heavens in this verse and to the earth in the next verse. The mystery of what is beyond the heavens will have vanished through the doors which will then be opened. The solid mountains, as we suppose them to be, will have vanished like an unsubstantial mirage.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Allegorically, "its mysteries will be opened to man's understanding" - thus further amplifying the concept of "the Day of Distinction between the true and the false".

وَّ سُيِّرَتِ الۡجِبَالُ فَكَانَتۡ سَرَابًا ؕ‏ 
( 20 )   And the mountains are removed and will be [but] a mirage.
One should bear in mind the fact that here also, as at many other places in the Quran, the different states of Resurrection have been mentioned all together. In the first verse, mention has been made of what will happen at the final sounding of the Trumpet and in the following two verses of the state which will appear at the second sounding of the Trumpet. This we have already explained in E.N. 10 of Surah Al-Haaqqah above. The heavens shall be opened means: All obstacles in the heavens will be removed and every heavenly calamity from every side will befall freely as though all doors for it were open and no door had remained closed to obstruct its happening. The mountains will be set in motion till they become as a mirage means: In no time will the mountains be uprooted from their places and then will be scattered away in particles leaving nothing but vast, empty sand plains behind. This same state has been described in Surah Ta Ha, thus: They ask you, well, where will the mountains go on that Day? Say to them: My Lord will reduce them to fine dust and scatter it away. He will turn the earth into an empty level plain, wherein you will neither see any curve nor crease. (verses 105-107).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
This is similar to Allah's statement, (And you will see the mountains and think them solid, but they shall pass away as the passing away of the clouds.) (27:88) He also says, (And the mountain will be like carded wool.) (101:5)

And Allah says here, (As if they were a mirage.) meaning, they appear to the one who looks at them as if they are something, but they are actually nothing. After this they will be completely removed. Nothing will be seen of them, and there will be neither base nor trace of them. 

This is as Allah says, (And they ask you concerning the mountains, say: "My Lord will blast them and scatter them as particles of dust. Then He shall leave them as a level smooth plain. You will see therein nothing crooked or curved.'') (20:105-107) 

And He says, (And the Day We shall cause the mountains to pass away, and you will see the earth as a leveled plain.) (18:47)

اِنَّ جَهَنَّمَ كَانَتۡ مِرۡصَادًا
( 21 )   Indeed, Hell has been lying in wait
An ambush: a place contrived to entrap game by surprise. Hell has been described as an ambush, because the rebels of God are fearless of it and are enjoying life thinking that the world is a haven of bliss for them. They do not know that Hell is lying in ambush for them, which will trap them suddenly and keep them trapped.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Hell, the embodiment of evil, is lying in wait like an ambush for every one. We should be on our guard. For the transgressors, those who have willfully rebelled against Allah, it will be a definite destination, from which there is no return, except, it may be, after ages, i.e., unless Allah so wills: Cf. vi. 128,.

لِّلطّٰغِيۡنَ مَاٰبًا ۙ‏ 
( 22 )   For the transgressors, a place of return,

لّٰبِثِيۡنَ فِيۡهَاۤ اَحۡقَابًا​ ۚ‏ 
( 23 )   In which they will remain for ages [unending].
The word ahqab as used in the original means successive periods of long time appearing continuously one after the other. From this word some people have tried to argue that there will be eternity in the life of Paradise but no eternity in the life of Hell. For however long these ages may be, they will not be endless but will come to an end at some time. But this argument is wrong for two reasons. First, that lexically, the word haqab (sing. of ahqab) itself contains the meaning that one haqab should be closely followed by another haqab; therefore, ahqab will necessarily be used only for such periods of time as continue to appear successively one after the other and there should be no period which is not followed by another period. Second, that as a rule it is wrong to put a meaning on a verse of the Quran pertaining to a particular theme which clashes with other statements of the Quran pertaining to the same theme. At 34 places in the Quran the word khulud (eternity) has been used concerning the dwellers of Hell. At three places not only the word khulud has been used but the word abadan (for ever and ever) also has been added to it; and at one place it has been clearly stated: They will wish to get out of Hell but shall not be able to come out of it and theirs shall be an everlasting torment. (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 37). At another place it has been said: Therein they shall abide forever, as long as the earth and the heavens shall last, unless your Lord ordains otherwise. And the same thing has been said about the dwellers of Paradise too: They shall dwell in Paradise forever, as long as the earth and the heavens shall last, unless your Lord wills something else. (Houd, Ayats 107- 108). After these explanations, how can one argue, on the basis of the word ahqab, that the stay of the rebels of God in Hell will not be eternal, but it will come to an end at some stage in time?

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
meaning, they will remain in it for Ahqab, which is the plural of Huqb. Huqb means a period of time. Khalid bin Ma`dan said, "

This Ayah, and the Ayah, except your Lord wills. )11:107( both refer to the people of Tawhل0d. Ibn Jar0r recorded this statement. Ibn Jar0r also recorded from Sa0lim that he heard Al-Hلasan being asked about Alla0h s statement, (They will abide therein Ahqab) "In reference to Ahqab, it has no specific amount of time other than its general meaning of eternity in the Hellfire. However, they have mentioned that the Huqb is seventy years, and every day of it is like one thousand years according to your reckoning (in this life).'' Sa`id reported from Qatadah that he said, "

Allah says, (They will abide therein Ahqab.) (78:23) And it is that which has no end to it. Whenever one era comes to an end, a new era follows it. It has been mentioned to us that the Huqb is eighty years.'' Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said, (They will abide therein Ahqab) "No one knows how much time this Ahqab is, except for Allah, the Mighty and Sublime. It has been mentioned to us that one Huqb is eighty years, and the year is three hundred and sixty days, and each day is equivalent to one thousand years according to your reckoning (in this life).'' Ibn Jarir has recorded both of these statements.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
I.e., not forever, since the term huqb or hiqbah (of which ahqab is the plural) denotes no more than "a period of time" or "a long time" (Jawhari) - according to some authorities, "eighty years" according to others, "a year" or simply "years" (Asas, Qamus, Lisan al-'Arab, etc.). But however one defines this term, it is obvious that it signifies a limited period of time, and not eternity: and this is in tune with many indications in the Qur'an to the effect that the suffering described as "hell" is not eternal (see note [114] on the last paragraph of 6:128), as well as with several authentic sayings of the Prophet (e.g., the one quoted in note [10] on 40:12).

لَا يَذُوۡقُوۡنَ فِيۡهَا بَرۡدًا وَّلَا شَرَابًا ۙ‏ 
( 24 )   They will not taste therein [any] coolness or drink

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
meaning, they will not find any coolness in Hell for their hearts, nor any good drink for them to partake of. 

اِلَّا حَمِيۡمًا وَّغَسَّاقًا ۙ‏ 
( 25 )   Except scalding water and [foul] purulence -
The word ghassaq as used in the original applies to pus, blood, pus-blood and all those fluids that flow out from the eyes and skins as a result of a grievous penalty. Besides, this word is also used for a thing which stinks and gives out horrid, offensive smell.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Thus, Allah says: (Except Hamim, and Ghassaq) Abu Al-`Aliyah said, "The Hamim has been made an exception to the coolness, and Ghassaq is the exception to the drink.'' This has also been said by Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. In reference to the Hamim, it is the heat that has reached its maximum temperature and point of boiling. The Ghassaq is gathered from the pus, sweat, tears, and wounds of the people of Hellfire. It is unbearably cold with an intolerable stench. May Allah save us from that by His beneficence and grace. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
For my rendering of hamim as "burning despair", see surah {6}. The meaning of ghassaq is explained in {38:57-58}.

جَزَآءً وِّفَاقًا ؕ‏ 
( 26 )   An appropriate recompense.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
meaning, that which will happen to them of this punishment is in accordance with their wicked deeds, which they were doing in this life. Mujahid, Qatadah, and others have said this.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Their transgressions go on progressively as they refuse to repent and turn to Allah. The fire of misery begins to blaze forth more and more fiercely, an there is nothing to cool that blaze; their food and drink themselves are tainted with the disorder of contradictory elements,-boiling hot drink, with intensely cold, murky, and disgusting fluids. These are fitting punishments for their crimes, which are inconsistent with the pure and gentle mould in which Allah had originally cast their nature.

اِنَّهُمۡ كَانُوۡا لَا يَرۡجُوۡنَ حِسَابًا ۙ‏ 
( 27 )   Indeed, they were not expecting an account

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
meaning, they did not believe that there would be an abode in which they would be taken to account.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
It was not isolated acts, but a continued course of evil conduct; they repudiated the moral and spiritual responsibility for their lives; and they impudently called Truth itself by false names and disdained Allah's Signs, which were vouchsafed for their instruction. These are not mere impressions; these are hard facts "preserved on record", so that every deed can have its due weight in making up the account.

وَّكَذَّبُوۡا بِاٰيٰتِنَا كِذَّابًا ؕ‏ 
( 28 )   And denied Our verses with [emphatic] denial.
This is the reason for which they will deserve this dreadful penalty of Hell. Firstly, they lived in the world thinking that the time will never come when they will have to appear before God and render an account of their deeds; second, that they utterly refused to accept and acknowledge the revelations that Allah had sent through His Prophets for their instruction and treated them as falsehood.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(But they denied Our Ayat Kidhdhaba.) meaning, they used to deny the evidences of Allah and His proofs for His creation, which He revealed to His Messengers. So they met these proofs with rejection and obstinance. 

His statement, (Kidhdhaba) it means rejection, and it is considered a verbal noun that does not come from a verb.

وَكُلَّ شَىۡءٍ اَحۡصَيۡنٰهُ كِتٰبًا ۙ‏ 
( 29 )   But all things We have enumerated in writing.
That is, We were continuously preparing a complete record of their sayings and doings, their movements and occupations, even of their intentions, thoughts and aims in life and nothing was being left un-recorded, whereas the foolish people in their heedlessness thought that they were living in a lawless kingdom where they were free to do whatever they pleased and desired, and there was no power to call them to account.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(And all things We have recorded in a Book.) meaning, `surely We know the deeds of all of the creatures, and We have written these deeds for them. We will reward them based upon this.' If their deeds were good then their reward will be good, and if their deeds were evil their reward will be evil. 

فَذُوۡقُوۡا فَلَنۡ نَّزِيۡدَكُمۡ اِلَّا عَذَابًا
( 30 )   "So taste [the penalty], and never will We increase you except in torment."
Just as there is a progressive deterioration in the sinner's soul when he surrenders himself to evil, so there is a progressive increase in the Penalty which he suffers.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(So taste you. No increase shall We give you, except in torment.) This means that it will be said to the people of the Hellfire, "Taste that which you were in. We will never increase you in anything except torment according to its type (of sin), and something else similar to it.'' Qatadah reported from Abu Ayyub Al-Azdi, who reported from `Abdullah bin `Amr that he said, "Allah did not reveal any Ayah against the people of the Hellfire worse than this Ayah, (So taste you. No increase shall We give you, except in torment.)'' Then he said, "They will continue increasing in torment forever.''

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Lit., "We shall not increase you in anything but suffering": i.e., until the sins committed in this world are atoned for by commensurate suffering in the hereafter - for "whoever shall come [before God] with an evil deed will be requited with no more than the like thereof; and none shall be wronged" 6:160.

Ruku Two: Verses 31-40
Verses 31 – 37 Gifts for the righteous

اِنَّ لِلۡمُتَّقِيۡنَ مَفَازًا ۙ‏ 
( 31 )   Indeed, for the righteous is attainment -
Here, the word righteous has been used in contrast to those who did not expect any accountability and who had belied Allah’s revelations. Therefore, this word inevitably implies those people who believed in Allah’s revelations and lived in the world with the understanding that they had to render an account of their deeds ultimately.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
This is true Salvation. It is not only safety and felicity, but the attainment of the final Goal, the supreme Achievement, the Fulfilment of the highest in human nature, the satisfaction of the true and pure desires of the heart,-seeing the "Face of Allah". See  xliv. 57.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
I.e., the fulfilment of all that a human being may ever desire (Razi), symbolized by the "luxuriant gardens", etc., of the sequence.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
The Great Success will be for Those Who have Taqwa
Allah informs about the happy people and what He has prepared for them of esteem, and eternal pleasure. 

Allah says, (Verily, for those who have Taqwa, there will be a success;) Ibn `Abbas and Ad-Dahhak both said, "A place of enjoyable recreation.'' Mujahid and Qatadah both said, "They are successful and thus, they are saved from the Hellfire.'' The most obvious meaning here is the statement of Ibn `Abbas, because Allah says after this, (Hada'iq حَدَآئِقَ) And Hada'iq are gardens of palm trees and other things.

حَدَآئِقَ وَاَعۡنَابًا ۙ‏ 
( 32 )   Gardens and grapevines

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The supreme Achievement, or the Fulfilment of the Heart's Desires, spoken of in the last verse, is now described in three illustrations (verses 32-34), as further explained by two negatives (verse 35). The first is the enclosed Fruit-Garden, represented by the Grape. The Garden in its many aspects is the most frequent expression adopted for Bliss. The most carefully-tended Garden is a Fruit-Garden, with walls all round to protect it, and the most characteristic fruit mentioned here is the luscious Grape.

وَّكَوَاعِبَ اَتۡرَابًا ۙ‏ 
( 33 )   And full-breasted [companions] of equal age
This may mean that they will be of equal age among themselves as well as that they will be of equal age with their husbands. This same theme has already occurred in Surah Suad, Ayat 52 and Surah Al-Waqiah, Ayat 37.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(And vineyards, and Kawa`ib Atrab,) meaning, wide-eyed maidens with fully developed breasts. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others have said, (Kawa`ib) "This means round breasts. They meant by this that the breasts of these girls will be fully rounded and not sagging, because they will be virgins, equal in age. This means that they will only have one age.'' The explanation of this has already been mentioned in Surat Al-Waqi`ah.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
As regards my rendering of kawa'ib as "splendid companions", it is to be remembered that the term ka'b - from which the participle ka'ib is derived - has many meanings, and that one of these meanings is "prominence", "eminence" or "glory" (Lisan al-'Arab); thus, the verb ka'ba, when applied to a person, signifies "he made [another person] prominent", "glorious" or "splendid" (ibid.) Based on this tropical meaning of both the verb ka'ba and the noun ka'b, the participle ka'ib has often been used, in popular parlance, to denote "a girl whose breasts are becoming prominent" or "are budding": hence, many commentators see in it an allusion to some sort of youthful "female companions" who would entertain the (presumably male) inmates of paradise. But quite apart from the fact that all Qur'anic allegories of the joys of paradise invariably apply to men and women alike, this interpretation of kawa'ib overlooks the purely derivative origin of the above popular usage - which is based on the tropical connotation of "prominence" inherent in the noun ka'b - and substitutes for this obvious tropism the literal meaning of something that is physically prominent: and this, in my opinion, is utterly unjustified. If we bear in mind that the Qur'anic descriptions of the blessings of paradise are always allegorical, we realize that in the above context the term kawa'ib can have no other meaning than "glorious [or "splendid"] beings", without any definition of sex; and that, in combination with the term atrab, it denotes, "splendid companions well-matched" - thus alluding to the relations of the blest with one another, and stressing the absolute mutual compatibility and equal dignity of all of them. See also note [13] on 56:34.

وَّكَاۡسًا دِهَاقًا ؕ‏ 
( 34 )   And a full cup.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(And a cup Dihaq.) Ibn `Abbas said, "Continuously filled.'' `Ikrimah said, "Pure.'' Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, and Ibn Zayd all said, (Dihaq) "This means completely filled.''

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The third, the Cup, takes us partly to the Grapes mentioned in verse 32 and partly to the Springs or Rivers mentioned with the Garden in so many places.

لَا يَسۡمَعُوۡنَ فِيۡهَا لَـغۡوًا وَّلَا كِذّٰبًا​ ۚ‏
( 35 )   No ill speech will they hear therein or any falsehood -
At several places in the Quran this has been counted as among the major blessings of Paradise. Human ears there will remain secure against idle, false and indecent talk. There will be no nonsensical, meaningless gossiping in Paradise; no one will tell lies nor belie others; nor will there be any use of abusive language, slandering; calumnies and false accusations which are so common in the world. (For further explanations, see explanation of verse 50 of Surah 19. Maryam, verses 25-26  of Surah 56. Al-Waqiah).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(No Laghw shall they hear therein, nor lying;) This is similar to Allah's statement, (Free from any Laghw, and free from sin.) (52:23) meaning, there will not be any vain, worthless speech therein, nor any sinful lying. Rather, it will be the abode of peace, and everything that is in it will be free of any shortcomings.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The explanation of the three illustrations is made further clear by the two negatives. (1) There will be no talk of vanities, such as are usually associated on this earth with pleasant Gardens, Companions of equal age, or generous Cups nowing in Assemblies. (2) There will be no Untruth or Falsehood. Insincerity or Hollowness there. Everything will be on a plane of absolute Truth and Reality.j

جَزَآءً مِّنۡ رَّبِّكَ عَطَآءً حِسَابًا ۙ‏ 
( 36 )   [As] reward from your Lord, [a generous] gift [made due by] account,
A reward and generous gift: that is, they will not only be given their due rewards which they will deserve for their good deeds, but over and above these they will be given additional and generous gifts and prizes as well. Contrary to this, in respect of the dwellers of Hell it has been said: They will be recompensed fully for their misdeeds. That is, they will neither be punished less than what they will deserve for their crimes nor more. This theme has been explained at length at many places in the Quran, for example, see Surah Younus, Ayats 26-27; Surah An-Naml, Ayats 89-90; Surah Al-Qasas, Ayat 84; Surah Saba, Ayats 33-38; Surah Al-Momin, Ayat 40.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(Rewarded from your Lord with a sufficient gift.) meaning, `this that We have mentioned to you is what Allah will reward them with, and they will be given it by His favor and from Him. It will be a kindness, mercy, gift, and recompense from Him. It will be sufficient, suitable, comprehensive and abundant.' The Arabs say, "He gave me and he sufficed me.'' This means that he sufficiently provided for me.'' From this comes the saying, "Allah is sufficient for me.''

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The explanation of the three illustrations is made further clear by the two negatives. (1) There will be no talk of vanities, such as are usually associated on this earth with pleasant Gardens, Companions of equal age, or generous Cups nowing in Assemblies. (2) There will be no Untruth or Falsehood. Insincerity or Hollowness there. Everything will be on a plane of absolute Truth and Reality.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
I.e., not merely in accordance with their good deeds but far in excess of them, in accordance with God's unlimited bounty.

رَّبِّ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ وَمَا بَيۡنَهُمَا الرَّحۡمٰنِ​ لَا يَمۡلِكُوۡنَ مِنۡهُ خِطَابًا​ ۚ‏ 
( 37 )   [From] the Lord of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them, the Most Merciful. None shall have power to argue with Him.
That is, the court of Allah Almighty will be so awe inspiring that no one, whether belonging to the earth or to the heavens, will dare open his mouth of his own will before Allah, nor interfere in the court's work and proceedings.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Allah informs of His magnificence and His majesty, and that He is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, and whatever is in them and between them. He explains that He is the Most Gracious, Whose mercy covers all things. 

Then He says, (With Whom they cannot dare to speak.) meaning, no one is able to begin addressing Him except by His permission.

This is as Allah says, (Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His permission) (2:255) It is also similar to His statement, (On the Day when it comes, no person shall speak except by His leave.) (11:105)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
No one has the right or the power to argue with Allah about the Gifts which He may bestow on His devotees beyond their deserts, (verse 36 above) or about the Penalty which His justice may inflict for sin or wrong-doing. He is high above all Creation. But He is also Most Gracious. Therefore He may permit special Dignitaries, of honour in His eyes, to plead for sinners, but they will only plead in truth and righteousness: see verse 38 below.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
These words caution and prod those who were wrongly infatuated by the notion that their deities will be able to cajole and convince the Almighty to grant them whatever they wish. The Arabs would specially worship the angels thinking them to be daughters of God and ascribed the above belief to them. The verse states that this is a baseless wish. No one there will have the authority to speak except if the God Almighty permits him.

Verses 38 – 40 On the Day of Truth

يَوۡمَ يَقُوۡمُ الرُّوۡحُ وَالۡمَلٰٓـئِكَةُ صَفًّا ؕۙ لَّا يَتَكَلَّمُوۡنَ اِلَّا مَنۡ اَذِنَ لَهُ الرَّحۡمٰنُ وَقَالَ صَوَابًا​‏ 
( 38 )   The Day that the Spirit and the angels will stand in rows, they will not speak except for one whom the Most Merciful permits, and he will say what is correct.
According to most commentators, the Spirit implies the Angel Gabriel, who has been mentioned separately from the angels because of his high rank and position with Allah. (For further explanation, see E.N. 3 of Surah Al-Maarij).

To speak: to intercede, and intercession has been made conditional upon two things: (1) That the person who is granted permission by Allah to intercede for a sinner will alone be allowed to intercede and for the particular sinner only. (2) That the intercessor will say only what is right and proper, and nothing derogatory, and the one for whom he is interceding should have at least acknowledged the truth in the world. That is, he should only be a sinner, not an unbeliever. 

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
(The Day that Ar-Ruh and the angels will stand forth in rows, they will not speak) (78:38) The word Ruh here is referring to the angel Jibril. This has been said by Ash-Sha`bi, Sa`id bin Jubayr and Ad-Dahhak. 

This is as Allah says, (Which the trustworthy Ruh has brought down. Upon your heart that you may be of the warners.) (26:193-194) Muqatil bin Hayyan said, "The Ruh is the noblest of the angels, the closest of them to the Lord, and the one who delivers the revelation.'' 

Allah said; (except him whom Ar-Rahman allows,) This is similar to Allah's statement, (On the Day when it comes, no person shall speak except by His leave.) (11:105) This is similar to what has been confirmed in the Sahih, that the Prophet said, (And none will speak on that Day except the Messengers.)'' 

Allah said, (and he will speak what is right.) meaning, the truth. And from the truth is the fact that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah. This is as Abu Salih and `Ikrimah both said

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Spirit: see explanation of lxx. 4. Some Commentators understand by "the Spirit" the angel Gabriel as he is charged specially with bringing Messages to human prophets: see explanation of xxi. 193.

See explanation of verse 37 above above. No one has the right to speak before the Judgment-Seat; but certain great Dignitaries may be given permission to plead for mercy for sinners, and they will only so plead if the mercy is not negatory of Allah's universal justice.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Lit., "the soul", in the singular but implying a plural. This is, according to Ibn 'Abbas, Qatadah and Al-Hasan (all of them quoted by Tabari), the meaning of ar-ruh in the above context.

This includes the symbolic right of the prophets to "intercede" for the sinners on Judgment Day (see 10:3 - "There is none that could intercede with Him unless He grants leave therefor" - and the corresponding note [7], which makes it clear that such "intercession" implies God's a-priori acceptance of the sinner's repentance). In a wider sense, the statement that he whom God will allow to speak "will say [only] what is right" implies the impossibility of anyone's being untruthful on Judgment Day.

ذٰلِكَ الۡيَوۡمُ الۡحَـقُّ​ ۚ فَمَنۡ شَآءَ اتَّخَذَ اِلٰى رَبِّهٖ مَاٰبًا‏ 
( 39 )   That is the True Day; so he who wills may take to his Lord a [way of] return.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
In reference to Allah's statement, (That is the True Day.) meaning, it will come to pass and there is no avoiding it.

(So, whosoever wills, let him seek a place with His Lord!) meaning, a place of return, a path that leads to Him, and a way that he may pass by to get to Him.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. lxix. 1 and its explanation. Judgment is sure to come, and Truth will then be free from all veils. Why should not man, therefore, now in this life of probation, turn back to Allah, and understand and do His Will?

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Cf. 69:1 and the corresponding note [1]. Objectively, it will be the moment when the ultimate reality of human life and its purpose will become fully accessible to man's understanding.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
In other words, the only right way for every person who wants a good future is that he should try to make an abode with God. 

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: Three things are evident from: فَمَنۡ شَآءَ اتَّخَذَ اِلٰی رَبِّہٖ مَاٰبًا.

Firstly, the only responsibility of God and His Prophet (sws) is to inform people of the day and it is not their responsibility to force its fear to enter the hearts of people.

Secondly, on that day, it is only the Almighty with Whom refuge can be sought; no one will be able to seek refuge with anyone else.

Thirdly, the way in which refuge can be sought with God is that one should adopt His path in this world. He who does not adopt His path in this world will not be able to attain His refuge in the Hereafter. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 166)

اِنَّاۤ اَنۡذَرۡنٰـكُمۡ عَذَابًا قَرِيۡبًا ۖۚ  يَّوۡمَ يَنۡظُرُ الۡمَرۡءُ مَا قَدَّمَتۡ يَدٰهُ وَيَقُوۡلُ الۡـكٰفِرُ يٰلَيۡتَنِىۡ كُنۡتُ تُرٰبًا‏ 
( 40 )   Indeed, We have warned you of a near punishment on the Day when a man will observe what his hands have put forth and the disbeliever will say, "Oh, I wish that I were dust!"
Apparently, one might think that the people who were the audience of this verse died fourteen centuries ago, and even now it cannot be said how many hundreds or thousands or millions of years Resurrection will take to come. Then, in what sense has it been said: The torment of which you have been warned, has approached near at hand? And what is the meaning of saying in the beginning of the Surah: Soon they shall know? The answer is that man can have the feeling of time only until he is passing a physical life in the world within the bounds of space and time. After death when only the soul will survive, he will lose every feeling and consciousness of time, and on the Day of Resurrection when man will rise back to life, he will feel as though some one had aroused him from sleep suddenly. He will not at all be conscious that he has been resurrected after thousands of years. (For further explanation, see verse. 29 of Surah 16. An-Nahl; verse 52 of Surah 17. Bani Israil; verse. 103 of Surah 20. Ta Ha; verse 52 of Surah 36. Ya Seen).

Would that I were mere dust: "Would that I had not been born in the world, or had become mere dust after death, and thus reduced to nothingness.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
The Day of Judgement is Near:  Allah said, (Verily, We have warned you of a near torment) meaning, the Day of Judgement. It is mentioned here to emphasize the fact that its occurrence has become close, because everything that is coming will certainly come to pass.

(the Day when man will see that which his hands have sent forth,) meaning, all of his deeds will be presented to him -- the good and bad, and the old and new. 

This is similar to Allah's statement, (And they will find all that they did, placed before them.) (18:49) t It is also similar to His statement, (On that Day man will be informed of what he sent forward, and what he left behind.) (75:13) 

Then Allah says, (and the disbeliever will say: "Woe to me! Would that I were dust!'') meaning, the disbeliever on that Day will wish that he had only been dust in the worldly life.

He will wish that he had not been created and that he had never come into existence. This will be when he sees the torment of Allah and he looks at his wicked deeds that will be written down against him by the noble righteous scribes among angels. It has been said that he will only wish for that when Allah passes judgement between all of the animals that were in the worldly life. He will rectify matters between them with His just wisdom that does not wrong anyone. Even the hornless sheep will be allowed to avenge itself against the sheep with horns.

Then, when the judgement between them is finished, He (Allah) will say to them (the animals), "Be dust.'' So they will all become dust. 

Upon witnessing this the disbeliever will say, (Would that I were dust!) meaning, `I wish I was an animal so that I would be returned to dust.' Something of similar meaning to this has been reported in the well-known Hadith about the Sur. There are also narrations recorded from Abu Hurayrah, `Abdullah bin `Amr, and others concerning this. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat An-Naba'. And all praise and thanks are due to Allah. He is the Giver of success and protection from error.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Is Judgment very near? Yes. There are three stages of Judgment. (1) Many of our sins and wrong-doings find their penalty in this very life. It may not be an open or striking event, but it corrodes the soul and conscience all the time. Let us therefore tum back to Allah in repentance and ask for forgiveness. (2) Where the Penalty is not actually perceived or is not visible in this life, Death is considered the Lesser Judgment for each individual soul: see explanation of lxxv. 22. Death may come to anyone at any time, and we must all be ready for it. (3) Then there is the final Judgment, when the whole of the present order passes away, and there is a New World. Time as we know it will not exist. Fifty thousand years as we reckon now will be but as a Day: lxx. 4. According to those standards even this Final Judgment is quite near, and we must prepare for it. For it will be too late then for repentance.

The Unbeliever, the Rejecter of Allah, will then find himself in a world of absolute Reality, in which there will be no place for him. He will neither live nor die: xx. 74. He will wish that he could be reduced to nothingness, but even that would not be possible.

You may now like to listen to tafsir / exegesis of the sirah by eminent scholar, exegete and linguist Nouman Ali Khan:

You may refer to our Reference Page "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, explanation and exegesis of other chapters of the Qur'an.

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 67 | 8 | 9 | 10 |
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  [2]
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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