Friday, December 4, 2020

Surah Al-Mursalāt - The Emissaries: Exegesis 77th Chapter of Qur'ān

Sūrah Al-Mursalāt " المرسلات " is the 77th chapter (sūrah) of the Quran with 50 āyāt with two rukus, part of the 30th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'ān. The Surah takes its name from the word wal-mursalat in the first verse. 

This Sūrah belongs to the early Makkan period, somewhere near to S. lxxv. (Al-Qiyamat). The theme is somewhat similar, that is is to affirm the Resurrection and Hereafter and to warn the people of the consequences which will ultimately follow the denial and the affirmation of these truths. In the Surah the words  وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ (Woe, that Day, to the deniers) are repeated ten times to warn the disbelievers.

The surah is divided into two Ruku as under:
  • Ruku One - Verses 1-40: In verses 1-28 Allah swears in the name of life giving winds, rain and angels that the day of judgement will be established and Woe on that day to the disbelievers! While in verses 29-40 the Day of Resurrection is painted when the disbelievers will be asked to walk towards hell which they used to deny
  • Ruku Two - Verses 41-50: In verses 41-45 it is said that the righteous will be given all that they desire, while verses 46-50 convey a stern warning to the disbelievers.
We have already presented the overview / summary of the sürah. Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. 

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

Ruku One - Verses 1-40
Verses 1-28: Allah swears in the name of life giving winds, rain and angels that the day of judgement will be established and Woe on that day to the disbelievers!

In the first seven ayaat, the system of winds has been presented as an evidence of the truth that the Resurrection which is being foretold by the Qur’an and the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam must come to pass. The reasoning is that the power of All-Mighty Allah Who established this wonderful system on the earth, cannot be helpless in bringing about the Resurrection, and the express wisdom which underlies this system bears full evidence that the Hereafter must appear, for no act of an All-Wise Creator can be vain and purposeless, and if there was no Hereafter, it would mean that the whole of one’s life was useless and absurd.

وَالۡمُرۡسَلٰتِ عُرۡفًا ۙ‏ 
(1) By the (winds) sent forth in quick succession,

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Allah's swearing by Different Creatures about the Occurrence of the Hereafter - Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, (By the Mursalat `Urfa.) "The angels.'' From Masruq, Abu Ad-Duha, Mujahid in one narrations from him, As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, statements similar to this have been reported. It has been reported from Abu Salih that he said, "These are the Messenger.'' In another narration from him (Abu Salih) he said that it means the angels. Abu Salih has also said the meaning of Al-`Asifat, An-Nashirat, Al-Fariqat and Al-Mulqiyat, that they all refer to the angels. Ath-Thawri narrated from Salamah bin Kuhayl, who reported from Muslim Al-Batin, who reported from Abu Al-`Ubaydayn that he asked Ibn Mas`ud about the meaning of Al-Mursalat `Urfa, and he (Ibn Mas`ud) said, "The wind.'' He said the same about Al-`Asifat `Asfa and An-Nashirat Nashra, that they all refer to the wind. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Qatadah all said the same. Ibn Jarir confidently affirmed that Al-`Asifat `Asfa means the wind just as Ibn Mas`ud and those who followed him said.However, he (Ibn Jarir) did not affirm whether An-Nashirat Nashra are the angels or the wind as has preceded. It has been reported from Abu Salih that An-Nashirat Nashra is the rain. 

The most obvious meaning is as Allah says, (And we send the winds fertilizing.) (15:22) 

He also says, (And it is He Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His mercy (rain).) (7:57) Similarly, Al-`Asifat (verse 2 below) are winds. It is said (in Arabic) that the winds `Asifat when they make noise with their blowing. Likewise, An-Nashirat are the winds that scatter into clouds in the horizons of the sky according to the will of the Lord.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
This Surah begins with an appeal to five things, as pointing to the substantive statement in verse 7, that the Day of Justice and Judgment is bound to come, and we must prepare for it. It is difficult to translate, but easy to understand, if we remember that a triple thread of allegory runs through this passage (verses 1-7). The five things or phases, which will be presently considered in detail, refer to (a) Winds in the physical world, (b) Angels in the Kingdom of Allah, and (c) Prophets in the human world, connecting it with the Kingdom of Allah.

Understanding the reference to Winds, we can see that they are powerful factors in the government of the physical world. (1) They come gently as harbingers of the blessings of rain and fertility (xv. 22; xxx. 48); but (2) they can come as violent tornadoes, uprooting and destroying (li. 41-42); (3) they can scatter seeds far and wide, and (4) they can separate chaff from grain, or clear the air from epidemics; and (5) they literally carry sound, and therefore Messages. All these things point to the power and goodness of Allah, and we are asked to believe that His promise of Mercy and Justice in the Hereafter is indeed true. Cf. this passage with li. 1-6 (Zariyat) with which it has many affinities.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., one after another: an allusion to the gradual, step-by-step revelation of the Qur'an. By contrast, the next clause (verse {2}) obviously relates to the impact of the divine writ as a whole. For my rendering of the adjurative particle wa as "Consider", see surah {74}.

فَالۡعٰصِفٰتِ عَصۡفًا ۙ‏ 
(2) which then blow tempestuously

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
If we understand the reference to be, not to Winds, but to Angels, they are agencies in the Kingdom of Allah, which carry out similar functions, changing and revolutionizing the face of the world. (1) They come softly, on beneficent errands of Mercy; (2) they are charged with the mission of punishment and destruction for sin as in the case of the two angels who came to Lut (xv. 57-66); (3) they distribute Allah's Mercies as the Winds distribute good seeds; (4) they sort out the good from the evil among men; and (5) they are the agency through which Allah's Messages and Revelations are conveyed to the Prophets (see No. 5 in the last note).

وَّالنّٰشِرٰتِ نَشۡرًا ۙ‏ 
(3) and raise (clouds) and scatter them around,

فَالۡفٰرِقٰتِ فَرۡقًا ۙ‏ 
(4) then winnow them thoroughly,

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Verses 4-6: (The Fariqat that separate, the Mulqiyat that remind, excusing or warning.) meaning, the angels. This was said by Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Masruq, Mujahid, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, As-Suddi and Ath-Thawri. There is no difference of opinion here, because they (the angels) are the ones who descend with Allah's command to the Messengers, separating between the truth and falsehood, guidance and misguidance, and the lawful and the forbidden. They bring the revelation to the Messengers, which contains exemption or absolvement for the creatures and a warning for them of Allah's torment if they oppose His command. 

فَالۡمُلۡقِيٰتِ ذِكۡرًا ۙ‏ 
(5) and then cast (Allah's) remembrance (in people's hearts),

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
If we understand the reference to Prophets or Messengers of Allah, or the verses of Revelation which would be particularly appropriate for verses 5-6, we also get a satisfactory solution of the Allegory. (1) The Prophets have followed one another in a series: the verses of the Qur'ān came, one after another as needed; in both cases it was for man's spiritual profit; (2) they caused great disturbance in a spiritual decadent world; they pulled down evil institutions root and branch, and substituted new ones; (3) they proclaimed their truths far and wide, without fear and without favour; (4) through them were sorted out men of Faith and rebels against Allah's Law; and (5) they gave a Message, through which just men were justified through repentance, and evil men were warned of their sins. Some Commentators take one or other of these allegories, and some apply one allegory to a few of these verses, and another to another few. In my opinion the Allegory is wide enough to comprehend all the meanings which I have sketched. I wish a translation could do justice to those marvelously terse sentences in the original.

عُذۡرًا اَوۡ نُذۡرًا ۙ‏ 
(6) to serve as an excuse or a warning.
That is, sometimes the failure of winds causes the people to be alarmed at the prospect of a famine, and they turn to Allah to repent of their sins. Sometimes they bring a lot of rain and the people turn to Allah in gratitude, and sometimes their blowing violently causes dread in the hearts and the people turn to Allah from fear of destruction.

In these verses initially the order of rain-bringing winds has been stated, which is thus: first, winds start blowing in succession; then they assume the proportions of a storm; then they raise the clouds and spread them; then they split and separate them. After this, instead of making mention of the rainfall, it is said that the winds infuse the hearts with the remembrance of Allah, as an excuse or as a warning. That is, it is an occasion when either because of fear man is compelled to remember Allah, or else he confesses his errors and invokes Allah to protect and save him from ruin and bless him with rain. If it has not rained for a long time, and the people are thirsty for rain, even the most hardened disbeliever sometimes begins to remember God when he sees the winds blowing and the clouds advancing. The drought’s being mild and severe makes the difference. In case the drought is mild, the common man who is not far from Allah, will remember Him, but others will offer scientific explanations, saying that there was no cause for anxiety: it did not rain because of such and such a cause and it would be weak-mindedness to start praying to God on such an ordinary thing. However, if the drought is unusually prolonged, and the whole country is faced with a calamitous situation, even the confirmed disbelievers begin to remember God. If they feel shy to use their tongue, in their hearts they feel penitent on their wrongdoing and ingratitude and pray to God to cause rain throughout the country from the winds which are raising the clouds. This is infusion of God’s remembrance in the hearts as an excuse. As for its infusion as a warning, it happens when the wind develops into a cyclone and destroys settlement after settlement or it rains so heavily as to cause a deluge. In such a state even a confirmed atheist starts imploring God out of awe for Him, and then all scientific explanations of the cyclone or deluge evaporate from his mind. Thus, after describing the blowing of winds in their succession to say that they infuse the hearts with Allah’s remembrance as an excuse or as a warning, is meant to impress the truth that the system working in the world keeps on reminding man that everything on the earth has not been placed under his control but there is a Supreme Power above him, which rules his destiny. That Power is so supreme and mighty that it can use the elements for the sustenance and nourishment of man when it so wills and can use the same elements for his destruction when it so wills.

After this the same system of winds has been proffered as an argument to prove that the Resurrection which is being promised to man, must come to pass. Now, let us see how this system testifies to this truth.

Man generally is perplexed in the case of Resurrection and the Hereafter at two questions. First: is the occurrence of Resurrection possible? Second: what is its need and necessity? And then being perplexed at these questions, he starts entertaining doubts whether it will at all occur or not, or whether it was only a figment of the imagination. In this connection, the Quran has at some places reasoned out and proved its possibility, its necessity and occurrence from the system of the universe, and at others adopted another mode of reasoning: oaths have been sworn by some of the countless signs of God’s kingdom and it has been asserted that it shall surely come to pass. This mode of reasoning contains arguments for its possibility as well as arguments for its necessity and arguments for its occurrence.

Here, adopting the same mode of reasoning only the system of the circulation of winds and rainfall has been presented as a sign of the truth that it is a regular system, which has been established by the design of an All-Wise, All-Mighty Sovereign; it is not a chance occurrence, as a result of which a system might have been generated in the atmosphere of the earth that vapors should arise from the seas, winds should carry them and gather them into clouds, then split and separate them into pieces and transport them to different parts of the earth and then should cause them to fall as rain. This system has not been devised accidentally by some blind and deaf nature, but it is a well considered and well-designed plan, which is functioning regularly according to a law. That is why it never so happens that the heat of the sun should produce ice on the surface of the sea instead of vapors, but the sun always raises only vapors from the sea. It never so happens that the monsoons should blow in the reverse order and suppress vapors into the sea but they always raise them up into the atmosphere. It never so happens that the formation of clouds should cease, or the winds should stop to carry them to dry lands or the falling of rain on the earth should discontinue. The same law has been at work since millions and millions of years under which this system is functioning. Had it not been so our coming into existence on the earth and survival here would not be possible.

In this system one finds a clear purpose and the working of a regular law. One can clearly see that on the earth the life of man, animal and vegetation deeply relates to the winds and rainfall, and this arrangement testifies that water has been provided to bring animate life into existence and keep it alive precisely according to their requirements and a law. This purpose and regularity is not found only in this aspect but in the entire system of the universe, and man’s whole scientific progress is based on it. About every thing man tries to find out what is its purpose and on what principle it works. Then as he goes on gaining insight into the purposes of the creation of different things and the principles on which they work, he goes on devising new and ever new methods of their use and making new inventions for the progress of his civilization. Had there been no such concept in the mind of man naturally that the world is a meaningful world and everything in it is working on a principle, he would never have entertained the question about anything as to what was its purpose and how it could be put to use.

Now, when this world and everything in it has meaning, and if there is a law working in this world and in everything it contains, and if it has been functioning with the same purpose and regularity since millions and millions of years, then a stubborn person only could refuse to accept that an All-Knowing, All-Mighty God has made it, and about that God it would be foolish to assume that although He could make and cause it to function but cannot break it, and after breaking it, cannot reconstruct it in any other form if He so wills. The concept about matter that it is imperishable was the chief support of the ignorant atheist of the past, but the progress of knowledge has proved it also false. Now it is an acknowledged scientific fact that matter can change into energy and energy into matter. Therefore, it is perfectly according to knowledge and reason that this material world will last only as long as the Living and Eternal God sustains it. As soon as He wills to change it into energy, He can change it by a simple command and His one command is enough to re-create it into any other material form and shape He wills.

This much then about the possibility of the Resurrection, which cannot now be rejected by any scientific and rational argument. As for the question that it must take place so that man is rewarded for his good works and punished for his evil deeds, the person who acknowledges man’s moral responsibility and also believes that rewarding the good services and punishing the crimes is the necessary demand of this moral responsibility, cannot but admit that there must be the Hereafter. There is no law or government in the world, which can punish every crime and reward every good act. To say that the prick of the conscience is a sufficient punishment for the culprit and the satisfaction of the conscience is sufficient reward for the doer of good is no more than meaningless philosophizing. The question is: How and when did the conscience of the person who killed an innocent man and then himself died in an accident immediately after it helped him? And when did the conscience of the man who went to fight for the sake of truth and justice and fell a victim to a bomb blast suddenly, have the satisfaction that he had laid down his life for a good cause? Thus, the truth is that the pretences invented to avoid the belief in the Hereafter are all meaningless. Man’s intellect wants, his nature requires, that there should be justice, but in the present life of the world it is not possible to have full and perfect justice. Justice can be had only in the Hereafter and only under the judgment and command of the All-Knowing, Omnipotent God. Denial of the necessity of the Hereafter is, in fact, denial of the necessity of justice.

Intellect can go only so far as to convince man that the Hereafter is possible and it should come about. As for the truth that it will surely come about, the knowledge of it can be obtained only through revelation, and revelation has given us the news that that which you are being promised must happen. We cannot attain this knowledge by intellectual reasoning; however, we can attain the certainty of its being true on the basis that the thing of which we are being informed by revelation is both possible and necessary.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., showing what leads to freedom from blame - in other words, the principles of right conduct - and what is ethically reprehensible and, therefore, to be avoided.

اِنَّمَا تُوۡعَدُوۡنَ لَوَاقِعٌ ؕ‏ 
(7) Surely what you are promised shall come to pass. 
Another meaning can be: That which you are being threatened with, i.e. the Resurrection and Hereafter.

Here an oath has been sworn by five things on the inevitability of the Resurrection:

(1) Those which are sent forth in succession, or for a good cause.

(2) Those which blow violently and tempestuously.

(3) Those which disperse and scatter.

(4) "those which split and separate;" and

(5) Those which inspire the remembrance. As these words only describe the characteristics and it has not been specified what thing or things they qualify, this has given rise to a difference of opinion among the commentators as to whether these are the qualities of one particular thing or of different things and what the thing or things are? One group of them says that all the five are qualify the winds; the second group says that all the five imply the angels; the third group says that the first three imply the winds and the remaining two the angels; the fourth says that the first two imply the winds and the other three the angels; another group has opined that the first quality implies the angels of mercy, the second the angels of punishment and the remaining three imply the verses of the Quran.

In our opinion, the first thing worthy of consideration is that when five characteristic have been mentioned continuously in one and the same context and there is no indication to show as to what has been qualified up to a certain point and wherefrom has the qualification of another thing begun, it cannot be correct, on the basis of a baseless conjecture, to understand that in these verses oaths have been sworn by two or three different things. Rather in this case the continuity of the subject by itself requires that the whole passage be regarded as related to the characteristics of one and the same thing. Secondly, wherever in the Quran an oath bas been sworn by a certain thing or things in order to convince the doubters or deniers of an unseen truth, there the oath stands for an argument or reasoning which is meant to tell that the thing or things point to the truth’s being right and correct. For this purpose obviously it cannot be correct to present one imperceptible thing as an argument for another imperceptible thing; for, only a perceptible thing can be presented as an argument for an imperceptible thing. Hence in our opinion the correct explanation is that it implies the winds and the explanation of the people who interpret the five things to mean the angels cannot be acceptable, for the angels are as imperceptible as is the occurrence of the Resurrection.

Now, let us consider as to how these different states of winds point to the occurrence of the Resurrection. One of the most important factor which has made animal and vegetable life possible on the earth is the air. The relationship its qualities bear with every kind of life testify that there is an All-Powerful, All-Wise Creator, Who willed to create life on this earth and for this purpose created here a thing whose qualities exactly and precisely correspond to the requirements of the existence of living beings. Then, He did not only wrap up the earth in the air and left it alone, but by His power and wisdom characterized this air with countless different states, which are being regulated since millions and millions of years in such a way that they cause the change of seasons and weather: sometimes it is close and sometimes a soft breeze blows; sometimes it is hot and sometimes cold; sometimes it brings clouds and sometimes it drives away clouds; sometimes it causes pleasant gusts to blow and sometimes disastrous windstorms; sometimes it brings beneficial rains and sometimes there is drought; in short, there are different kinds of winds which blow in their own time, and every kind serves one or the other purpose. This arrangement is the proof of a dominant Power, for which neither it can be impossible to bring life into existence, nor to obliterate it, nor to re-create it after having annihilated it. Likewise, this arrangement is also a proof of a supreme wisdom about which only a foolish man could think that all this was being done for fun, without any higher object in view. As against this wonderful system man is so helpless that he can neither cause a favorable wind to blow for himself, nor can prevent a disastrous cyclone from blowing on himself. However shameless, obstinate and stubborn he may be, the wind does at one time or another remind him that a Mighty Sovereign is ruling over him, Who can turn this principal means of his life into a cause of blessing for him or into a cause of ruin for him whenever He so likes, and man does not have the power to prevent or avert any of His decisions. (For further explanation, see (E.N. 7 of Surah Al-Jathiyah); (E.Ns 1 to 4 of Surah Adh-Dhariyat).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: This is the subject of these oaths. This means, what you all have been promised concerning the establishment of the Hour (Judgement Day), the blowing of the horn, the resurrection of the bodies, the gathering of those of old and those of latter times on one common ground and the rewarding of every doer of a deed based upon his deed. If he did good, then his reward will be good, and if he did evil, then his reward will be evil. All of this will occur, meaning it will come to pass and there is no avoiding it.

Verses 8-15: The people of Makkah repeatedly demanded: Bring about the Resurrection with which you threaten us; only then shall we believe in it. In ayaat 8-15, their demand has been answered, saying: Resurrection is no sport or fun so that whenever a jester should ask for it, it should be brought forth immediately. It is indeed the Day of Judgment to settle the account of all mankind and of all its individuals. For it Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has fixed a specific time it will take place at its own time, and when it takes place with all its dreads and horrors, it will confound those who are demanding it for fun today. Then their cases will be decided only on the evidence of those Messengers whom these deniers of the truth are repudiating with impunity. Then they will themselves realize how they themselves are responsible for their dooms.

فَاِذَا النُّجُوۡمُ طُمِسَتۡۙ‏ 
(8) So when the stars are extinguished,
That is, when they lose their light and luster.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: A Mention of some of what will occur on the Day of Judgement. Allah says, (Then when the stars lose their lights.) meaning, their light will leave. 

This is similar to Allah's statement, (And when the star fall.) (81:2) It is also similar to His statement, (And when the stars have fallen and scattered.) (82:2)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The lustre of the stars will become dim; in fact they will disappear: cf. lxxxi. 2, and lxxxii. 2. The heaven's canopy will be torn asunder: cf. lxxxii. 1, and lxxiii. 18. The mountains will be uprooted and fly about like dust: cf. lxix. 14; lxxxi. 3; etc. All the old landmarks of the physical world as we know it will be swept away.

وَ اِذَا السَّمَآءُ فُرِجَتۡۙ‏ 
(9) and the sky is rent asunder,
When the heaven is rent asunder: when the system and discipline of the heavens under which every star and planet is established and moving in its orbit and everything in the universe is adhering to the bounds set for it, is broken.

وَاِذَا الۡجِبَالُ نُسِفَتۡۙ‏ 
(10) and the mountains are blown away,

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, they will be removed and no sight or trace of them will remain. 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.'') (20:105) 

Allah also says, (And (remember) the Day We shall cause the mountains to pass away (like clouds of dust), and you will see the earth as a leveled plain, and we shall gather them all together so as to leave not one of them behind.) (18:47)

وَاِذَا الرُّسُلُ اُقِّتَتۡؕ‏ 
(11) and the appointed time to bring the Messengers together arrives,(then shall the promised event come to pass).
6. At several places in the Quran it has been stated that when the case of mankind will be presented before Allah on the Day of Resurrection, the Messenger of every nation will be called upon to testify that he had conveyed Allah’s messages intact to his people. This will be Allah’s first and major argument against the culprits and the wicked people to prove that they were themselves responsible for their wrong attitude and conduct in life, for there had been no negligence on the part of Allah to show guidance and administer warnings . For instance, see (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 172, 173); (Surah Az-Zumar, Ayat 69); (Surah Al-Mulk, Ayat 8).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Al-`Awfi narrated from Ibn `Abbas that he said that Uqqitat means "Gathered.'' Ibn Zayd said, "This is similar to Allah's statement, (On the Day when Allah will gather the Messengers together.) Mujahid said, (Uqqitat أُقِّتَتْ) "This means postponed.'' 

Ath-Thawri narrated from Mansur, who narrated from Ibrahim that he said concerning the word, (Uqqitat.) "This means promised.'' It seems as though he holds this to be similar to Allah's statement, (And the earth will shine with the light of its Lord: and the Book will be produced; and the Prophets and the witnesses will be brought forward; and it will be judged between them with truth, and they will not be wronged.) (39:69)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Resurrection will be established. In the world which will then have passed away, inspired Prophets had been sent in succession at different times to all nations. Now they will be gathered together in one place before the Judgment-seat to bear witness as to the righteous or the evil ones within their respective spheres of work. Cf. xxxix. 69.

لِاَىِّ يَوۡمٍ اُجِّلَتۡؕ‏ 
(12) To which Day has this task been deferred?

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (Verses 12- 15) For what Day are these signs postponed For the Day of Sorting Out. And what will explain to you what is the Day of Sorting Out Woe that Day to the deniers!) Allah is saying, `for which day are the Messengers postponed and their matter expected, so that the Hour will be established' 

This is as Allah says, (So think not that Allah will fail to keep His promise to His Messengers. Certainly, Allah is Almighty, All-Able of Retribution. On the Day when the earth will be changed to another earth and so will be the heavens, and they will appear before Allah, the One, the Irresistible.) (14:47, 48) 

This is the Day of Sorting Out ' لِيَوْمِ الْفَصْلِ " , as Allah says, (the Day of Sorting Out.) Then Allah says, in magnifying its matter, meaning, woe unto them from Allah's torment that is coming in the future.

لِيَوۡمِ الۡفَصۡلِ​ۚ‏ 
(13) To the Day of Judgement.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. xxxvii. 21; also xliv. 40. That will be the Day of Judgment or Day of Decision. Good will then be completely separated from Evil. And the men who rejected Truth and flourished on Falsehood will find that in the world of Realities they will be absolutely nowhere. Hence the refrain of this Surah. "Ah woe, that Day, to the Rejecters of Truth!" it sounds like a dirge on Sin.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: This is chronologically the earliest occurrence of the expression yawm al-fasl, which invariably relates to the Day of Resurrection (cf. 37:21, 44:40, 78:17, as well as verse {38} of the present surah): an allusion to the oft-repeated Qur'anic statement that on resurrection man will gain a perfect, unfailing insight into himself and the innermost motivation of his past attitudes and doings (cf. 69:1).

وَمَاۤ اَدۡرٰٮكَ مَا يَوۡمُ الۡفَصۡلِؕ‏ 
(14) What do you know what the Day of Judgement is?

وَيۡلٌ يَّوۡمَـئِذٍ لِّلۡمُكَذِّبِيۡنَ‏ 
(15) Woe on that Day to those that give the lie to the Truth!
Deniers: those people who took the news of the coming of Resurrection as a lie, and spent their lives in the world under the delusion that the time would never come when they would have to present themselves before their God and render an account of their deeds.

In ayaat 16-28:
Arguments have been given proving the occurrence and necessity of the Resurrection and Hereafter. In these it has been stated that man’s own history, his own birth, and the structure of the earth on which he lives, bear the testimony that the coming of Resurrection and the establishment of the Hereafter are possible. History tells us that the nations which denied the Hereafter ultimately became corrupted and met with destruction. This means that the Hereafter is a truth which if denied and contradicted by a nation by its conduct and attitude, will cause it to meet the same doom, which is met by a blind man who bushes headlong into an approaching train. As mentioned earlier, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has not created this world in vain. There is a Day of Retribution waiting when all good and evil deeds will be taken into account. Then man will be rewarded or punished accordingly.  For this it is inevitable that there should be a second life after death.
If man only considers how he takes his birth in the world, his intellect, provided it is sound intellect, cannot deny that for the God Who began his creation from an insignificant sperm drop and developed him into a perfect man, it is certainly possible to create the same man once again. If one only considers the powers of Allah, one cannot deny that He can do this; and if one considers the wisdom of Allah, one also cannot deny that it is certainly the very demand of His wisdom to call man to account for the right and wrong use of the powers that He has granted him on the earth; it would rather be against wisdom to let him off without rendering an account.
اَلَمۡ نُهۡلِكِ الۡاَوَّلِيۡنَؕ‏ 
(16) Did We not destroy many a nation of the earlier times?
This is an argument from history for the Hereafter, It means: Consider your own history in the world. Whichever nations denied the Hereafter and took this worldly life to be real life and based their moral attitude on the results appearing here regarding them as the criterion of good and evil, ultimately went to their doom without exception. This is a proof of the fact that the Hereafter is a reality overlooking and ignoring which causes the same kind of harm to a person which is caused when he chooses to close his eyes to the hard facts of life.” (For further explanation, see (E.N. 12 of Yunus), (E.N. 86 of An-Naml), (E.N. 8 of Ar- Rum), (E.N. 25 of Saba).

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Allah's Law is always the same. Sin or corruption prepares its own destruction. It was so with the generation of Noah. In Arab tradition it was so with the 'Ad and the Thamud. In our own day we see relics of prehistoric civilizations, in Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and the Aegean: these were men of wonderful skill and resource, but they went under. If our generations, which pride themselves on their science and skill, desert Allah's Law, they will be certain to meet the same fate.

ثُمَّ نُتۡبِعُهُمُ الۡاٰخِرِيۡنَ‏ 
(17) And We shall cause those of later times to follow them.
That is, this is a permanent law with Us. Just as denial of the Hereafter has proved disastrous for the nations of the past so it will always prove disastrous also for the nations of the future. No nation has been an exception to it before nor will any be so in the future.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: The use of the conjunction thumma ثُمَّ - which in this case has been rendered as "And" - implies that suffering in the hereafter is bound to befall the sinners "of later times" (al-akhirun الۡاٰخِرِيۡنَ‏ ) even if God, in His unfathomable wisdom, wills to spare them in this world.

كَذٰلِكَ نَفۡعَلُ بِالۡمُجۡرِمِيۡنَ‏ 
(18) Thus do We deal with the guilty.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Ibn Jarir said this. Then Allah reminding His creatures of His favor, and using the beginning of creation to support the idea of repeating it, 

وَيۡلٌ يَّوۡمَـئِذٍ لِّلۡمُكَذِّبِيۡنَ‏ 
(19) Woe on that Day to those that give the lie to the Truth!
This sentence in the present context means: The fate they have met or will meet in the world, is not their real punishment; their real doom will descend on them on the Day of Decision. The punishment here is only in the nature of a person’s being arrested when he commits one crime after the other fearlessly and is not inclined to mend and change his ways. The court where his case is to be decided and he is to be punished for all his misdeeds, will not be established in this world but in the Hereafter, and that indeed will be the real day of his ruin and disaster. (For further explanation, (see E.Ns 5, 6 of Surah Al-Aaraf); (E.N. 105 of Surah Houd).

اَلَمۡ نَخۡلُقۡكُّمۡ مِّنۡ مَّآءٍ مَّهِيۡنٍۙ‏ 
(20) Did We not create you of a mean fluid,

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, weak and despised in comparison to the power of the Creator. This is similar to what has been reported in the Hadith of Busr bin Jahhash (that Allah says), ("(O) Son of Adam ! How can you think that I am unable, and yet I created you from something like this (i.e., semen)'')

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. xxxii. 8. Man is ashamed of the process of physical creation, by which he comes into being. Yet he is arrogant in life and neglectful of the Future.

فَجَعَلۡنٰهُ فِىۡ قَرَارٍ مَّكِيۡنٍۙ‏ 
(21) which We then placed in a secure repository
A secure place: The mother’s womb in which the child is so firmly lodged as soon as it has been conceived and where such arrangements are made for its security and nourishment that abortion cannot take place unless there is a disaster, and even for artificial abortion extraordinary devices have to be adopted, which are both risky and harmful in spite of modern developments in medical science.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, `We gathered him in the womb, where the fluid of the man and the woman settles. The womb has been prepared for this, as a protector of the fluid deposited in it.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: See xxiii. 13. The silent growth in the mother's womb, and the protection and sustenance which the growing life receives from the life of the mother, are themselves wonders of creation.

اِلٰى قَدَرٍ مَّعۡلُوۡمٍۙ‏ 
(22) until an appointed time?
The words qadar im-malum do not only mean that the term is appointed and fixed but they also contain the sense that it is known to Allah alone. About child, no one knows by any means how many months, days, hours, minutes and seconds it will remain in the mothers womb and what will be its exact and precise time of birth. Allah alone has fixed a specific term for every child and He alone knows it. 

Yusuf Ali Explanation: The period roughly of nine months and ten days is subject to many adjustments. In fact throughout our prenatal as well as post-natal life there are wonderful and nicely-balanced adjustments of which we are ourselves unconscious. Should we not turn in love and gratitude to Allah our Creator?

فَقَدَرۡنَا ۖ فَنِعۡمَ الۡقٰدِرُوۡنَ‏ 
(23) See that We had the power to do so. Great indeed is Our power to do what We will.
This is an express argument for the possibility of the life-after-death What is meant to be said is: When We had the power to shape and develop you into a perfect and complete man from an insignificant sperm-drop, how shall We be helpless to re-create you in some other way? Our this creation in consequence of which you exist as a living being, is a proof that We are excellent Possessors of power; We cannot be so helpless as to be unable to re-create you after having created you in the first instance.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Perhaps the life in the womb, in relation to the life after birth, is an allegory for our probationary life on earth in relation to the eternal Life to come. Perhaps, also, our state when we are buried in the tomb suggests an allegory to the life in the womb, in relation to the life in the Hereafter.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: The process of man's coming into being (illustrated, for instance, in {23:12-14}) clearly points to God's creative activity and, hence, to His existence. Consequently, lack of gratitude on man's part amounts to what the Qur'an describes as "giving the lie to the truth".

وَيۡلٌ يَّوۡمَـئِذٍ لِّلۡمُكَذِّبِيۡنَ‏ 
(24) Woe on that Day to those that give the lie to the Truth!
This sentence here gives the meaning that in spite of the express argument for the possibility of life-after-death, the people who are denying it, may mock it as they may and look down upon its believers as people of antiquated ideas and whims, but when the Day comes which they are denying today, they will themselves know that it is a day of their own ruin and disaster.

اَلَمۡ نَجۡعَلِ الۡاَرۡضَ كِفَاتًا ۙ‏ 
(25) Did We not make the earth a receptacle,

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Ibn `Abbas said, "Kifat means a place of shelter.'' Mujahid said, "It holds the dead so that nothing is seen of it.'' Ash-Sha`bi said, "Its interior is for your dead and its surface is for your living.'' Mujahid and Qatadah also said this.

اَحۡيَآءً وَّاَمۡوَاتًا ۙ‏ 
(26) for the living and the dead,

Yusuf Ali Explanation: What a wonderful parable! The earth is a place where death and life, decay and growth and decay, green grass, stubble, and fuel, corruption and purification jostle together,-one often leading to the other. The drama which we see with our own eyes in this world should enable us to appreciate the wonders in the Kingdom of Allah where the despised and rejected receive the highest honour, Lazarus rests in Abraham's bosom, and the Pharaoh is led in chains for his arrogance and his sin.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: This refers not merely to the fact that the earth is an abode for living and dead human beings and animals, but is also an allusion to the God-willed, cyclic recurrence of birth, growth, decay and death in all organic creation - and thus an evidence of the existence of the Creator who "brings forth the living out of that which is dead, and brings forth the dead out of that which is alive" (3:27, 6:95, 10:31 and 30:19).

وَّجَعَلۡنَا فِيۡهَا رَوَاسِىَ شٰمِخٰتٍ وَّ اَسۡقَيۡنٰكُمۡ مَّآءً فُرَاتًا ؕ‏ 
(27) and did We not firmly fix towering mountains on it and give you sweet water to drink?
This is yet another argument for the possibility and reasonableness of the Hereafter. It is this very earth which since millions and millions of years has been sustaining and providing for countless different kinds of creatures. Every kind of vegetation and every kind of animal and man are living on it. To meet the requirements of all unmeasurable treasures of provisions of different kinds are coming out of its belly. Then it is on this very earth that countless members of all kinds of creatures die every day, but there exists a wonderful arrangement in that the dead bodies of all creatures are deposited in the same earth, and it again becomes ready for sustaining life and providing home to the new members of every species. This earth has not been shaped like a smooth-surfaced ball either, but here and there on it there have been set high mountains and mountain-ranges, which play an important role in causing the change of seasons and rainfall, the birth of rivers, creation of fertile valleys, growth of trees which supply timber, and provisions of a variety of minerals and stones. Then in the interior of this very earth, sweet water has been stored and on its surface rivers of sweet water have been arranged and also from the saline waters of the sea vapors of pure water are raised and caused to fall as rain from the sky. Is not all this an argument to prove that an All- Powerful Sovereign has created all this and He is not only All-Powerful but All-Knowing and All-Wise as well? Now, if this earth has been thus equipped and provisioned only by His power and wisdom, why should an intelligent man find it difficult to understand that the same Sovereign by His power can wind up this world and create another world on a new pattern, and the demand of His wisdom is that he should create another world after it so that He may call man to account for the deeds he has done in this world?

Yusuf Ali Explanation: See xvi. 15. The solid mountains are frequently referred to: cf. xiii. 3. The parable here is that the mountains are hard, solid rock, and yet they act as sponges to collect, store up, and filter sweet and wholesome water, which on account of their altitude they are able to distribute by gravity to the lower, dry land by means of rivers or springs. Any one who has seen the parched Makkan valleys and the delicious springs in the mountains around, or the Zubaida Canal, which used to be the main source of Makkah's water-supply, will appreciate the aptness of the metaphor, but it applies to any country, though not to so striking a degree. If the wisdom and power of Allah can do such things before your eyes, how can you reject His teaching of a still more wonderful future Life?

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Parallel with the preceding, this verse refers to God's creation of inanimate matter, and thus rounds off the statement that He is the Maker of the universe in all its manifestations, both organic and inorganic.

وَيۡلٌ يَّوۡمَـئِذٍ لِّلۡمُكَذِّبِيۡنَ‏ 
(28) Woe on that Day to those that give the lie to the Truth!
Here, this sentence signifies that the people who deny the coming of the Hereafter and regard it as impossible and irrational in spite of seeing these manifest signs of Allah’s power and wisdom, may remain lost in their vain imaginations if they so like. But the day when all this takes place against their expectations, they will realize that they have earned ruin on account of their own folly.

Verses 29-40: 
Then, in ayaat 29-40, the fate of the deniers of the Hereafter has been depicted, and in ayaat 41-45 of those who affirming faith in it in their worldly life, endeavored to improve their Hereafter, and abstained from the evils of disbelief and thought, morality and deed, conduct and character which might be helpful in man’s worldly life, but are certainly ruinous for his life hereafter.
In the end, the deniers of the Hereafter and those who turn away from God-worship have been warned as if to say: Enjoy your short-lived worldly pleasure as you may, but your end will ultimately be disastrous. The discourse concludes with the assertion that the one who fails to obtain guidance from a Book like the Qur’an, can have no other source in the world to afford him Guidance.
اِنْطَلِقُوۡۤا اِلٰى مَا كُنۡتُمۡ بِهٖ تُكَذِّبُوۡنَ​ۚ‏ 
(29) Proceed now towards that which you were wont to deny as false;
After giving proofs of the coming of the Hereafter, now it is being stated how the deniers will be dealt with when it has actually taken place.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: The driving of the Criminals to their Final Abode in Hell and how it will be done

Verses 29-30: Allah informs about the disbelievers who deny the final abode, the recompense, Paradise, and the Hellfire. On the Day of Judgement it will be said to them: (Depart you to that which you used to deny! Depart you to a shadow in three columns,) meaning, a flame of fire when it rises and ascends with smoke. So due to its severity and strength, it will have three columns.

اِنْطَلِقُوۡۤا اِلٰى ظِلٍّ ذِىۡ ثَلٰثِ شُعَبٍۙ‏ 
(30) proceed towards the three-pronged shadow,
Shadow: Shadow of smoke; three columns: Because when a big smoke arises, it is divided into several parts at the top.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: The Sinners, instead of reposing in cool shades, will only see the blazing Fire. The only shadow they will see will be that of Smoke, ascending in three columns, right, left, and above, i.e., completely enveloping them. But it will give no comfort or coolness. On the contrary, it will contain huge sparks.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., of death, resurrection and God's judgment, all three of which cast dark shadows, as it were, over the sinners' hearts.

لَّا ظَلِيۡلٍ وَّلَا يُغۡنِىۡ مِنَ اللَّهَبِؕ‏ 
(31) which neither provides (cooling) shade nor protection against the flames;

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, shade of the smoke that comes from the flame -- which itself will not have a shade, nor will it benefit against the flame. This means it will not protect them from the heat of the flame. 

اِنَّهَا تَرۡمِىۡ بِشَرَرٍ كَالۡقَصۡرِ​ۚ‏  
(32) it indeed throws up sparks like castles,

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, its sparks will shoot out from its flame like huge castles. Ibn Mas`ud said, "Like forts.'' Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah and Malik who reported from Zayd bin Aslam and others said, "This means the trunk of trees.''

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Qasr: Fort, big building, palace. An alternative reading is Qasar, plural of Qasarat (-un), meaning bundies of wood used for fuel: Ibn Abbas apud Bukhari. I almost prefer this latter reading.

كَاَنَّهٗ جِمٰلَتٌ صُفۡرٌ ؕ‏ 
(33) which seem as though they are yellow-coloured camels
That is, each spark will be like a castle, and when these huge sparks will rise and burst and fly about in all directions it will seem as though they were yellow camels running and jumping about ceaselessly.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: means, black camels. This is the view of Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, and Ad-Dahhak, and Ibn Jarir favored this view. Ibn `Abbas Mujahid, and Sa`id bin Jubayr said about, (Sufr camels.) "Meaning ropes of ships.''

Yusuf Ali Explanation: The yellow sparks flying swiftly one after another suggest a string of camels marching swiftly, such as the Arabs of Nejd and central Arabia are so proud of. There is a double allegory. It refers not only to the colour and the rapid succession of sparks, but to the vanity of worldly pride, as much as to say: "your fine yellow camels in which you took such pride in the world are but sparks that fly away and even sting you in the Hereafter!" Smoke with sparks may also assume fantastic shapes like long-necked camels.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "like yellow twisted ropes", yellow being "the colour of fire" (Baghawi). The conventional rendering of jimalat جِمٰلَتٌ (also spelt jimalat and jimalah) as "camels", adopted by many commentators and, until now, by all translators of the Qur'an, must be rejected as grossly anomalous; see in this connection note [32] on the second part of 7:40 - "they shall not enter paradise any more than a twisted rope can pass through a needle's eye". In the above verse, too, the plural noun jimalah (or jimalat) signifies "twisted ropes" or "giant ropes" - a connotation that has been forcefully stressed by Ibn 'Abbas, Mujahid, Sa'id ibn Jubayr and others (cf. Tabari, Baghawi, Razi, Ibn Kathir; also Bukhari, Kitab at-Tafsir). Moreover, our observation of the trajectory of shooting stars fully justifies the rendering "giant fiery ropes". Similarly, my rendering of qasr, in this context, as "[burning] logs" - instead of the conventional (and utterly meaningless) "castles", "palaces", etc. - goes back to all of the above-mentioned authorities.

وَيۡلٌ يَّوۡمَـئِذٍ لِّلۡمُكَذِّبِيۡنَ‏
(34) Woe on that Day to those that give the lie to the Truth!

هٰذَا يَوۡمُ لَا يَنۡطِقُوۡنَۙ‏ 
(35) That will be the Day on which they will not (be able to) utter a word,

Yusuf Ali Explanation: They will be dumbfounded; i.e., (when read with the next verse), they will not be in a position to put forward any valid defence or plea. Facts will speak too plainly against them. They might perversely try to deny false worship: vi. 23: but their own tongues and limbs will bear witness against them: xxiv. 24. Nor does the fighting out or settling of doctrinal disputes in the Hereafter (xxxix. 31) amount to putting forward pleas in defence.

وَلَا يُؤۡذَنُ لَهُمۡ فَيَـعۡتَذِرُوۡنَ‏ 
(36) nor will they be allowed to proffer excuses.
This will be their ultimate state at the time they will be entering Hell. Before this in the plain of Resurrection they will be offering all sorts of excuses, blaming others for their errors and proving their own selves to be innocent, abusing their leaders and guides who led them astray; so much so that some of them will even disown their crimes shamelessly, as has been stated at several places in the Quran. But when their being criminals will have been established by every kind of evidence, and when their own hands and feet and limbs will have borne witness against them to prove their guilt fully, and when after fulfilling all requirements of justice rightly and truly, the sentence will be passed on them, they will be dumbfounded and no room will be left for them to offer any excuse. To refuse an opportunity or permission to offer an excuse, does not mean that judgment will be passed against them without giving them a chance for self defense, but it means that their guilt and crime will be proved to the fullest and they will not be able to offer any excuse after it.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: The Inability of the Criminals to speak, make Excuses, or step forward on the Day of Judgement

(And they will not be permitted to put forth any excuse.) meaning, they will not be able to speak, nor will they be granted permission to speak so that they can make excuses. Rather, the proof will be established against them, and they will be called upon to speak about the wrong that they did, but they will not be able to say anything. The courts of the Day of Judgement will occur in stages. Sometimes the Lord informs of this stage and sometimes He informs of that stage. This is to show the terrors and calamities of that Day.

وَيۡلٌ يَّوۡمَـئِذٍ لِّلۡمُكَذِّبِيۡنَ‏ 
(37) Woe on that Day to those that give the lie to the Truth!

هٰذَا يَوۡمُ الۡفَصۡلِ​ۚ جَمَعۡنٰكُمۡ وَالۡاَوَّلِيۡنَ‏ 
(38) That is the Day of Judgement on which We have assembled you as well as all those who went before you.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: We may suppose this as spoken primarily to the Quraish who were plotting against the Prophet. You may use all your wisdom and that of your ancestors, but you will not be able to defeat Allah or His Plan. See next verse.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:  This is an address from the Creator to His servants. He says to them, (That will be a Day of Decision! We have brought you and the men of old together!) meaning, He will gather all of them by His power on one common plane, He will make them hear the caller and He will cause them to see. 

فَاِنۡ كَانَ لَـكُمۡ كَيۡدٌ فَكِيۡدُوۡنِ‏ 
(39) So if you have any ploy, try it against Me!
That is, in the world you used every kind of deception and trick in self-interest. Now, if you have any trick to escape My punishment, you may use it to defeat Me and My plan.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Then He says, (So, if you have a plot, use it against Me!) This is a serious threat and a harsh warning. It means, `if you are able to save yourselves from being seized by Me, and rescue yourselves from My ruling, then do so. But you are certainly not able to do so.' 

This is as Allah says, (O assembly of Jinn and men! If you have power to pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, then pass beyond (them)! But you will never be able to pass them, except with authority (from Allah)!) (55:33) 

Allah also says, (And you will not harm Him in the least.) (11:57) 

It is narrated in a Hadith (that Allah said), ("O My servants! You all can never attain My benefit and thereby benefit Me, and you all can never attain My harm and thereby harm Me.'')

Yusuf Ali Explanation: The plots against the holy Prophet were plots against Allah's Truth, and therefore against Allah. Can any one hope to profit by such plots? Can any one defeat Allah's Plan and Purpose? Let them try. They will only ruin themselves, as the Pagan leaders did. There can only be pity for such men. What will be their state in the Hereafter? "Ah woe, that Day, to the Rejecters of Allah's Truth!"

وَيۡلٌ يَّوۡمَـئِذٍ لِّلۡمُكَذِّبِيۡنَ
(40) Woe on that Day to those that give the lie to the Truth!

Ruku Two - Verses 41-50
Verses 41-45: The righteous will be given all that they desire

اِنَّ الۡمُتَّقِيۡنَ فِىۡ ظِلٰلٍ وَّعُيُوۡنٍۙ‏ 
(41) Behold, today the God-fearing will be amidst shades and springs,
As this world has been used here in contrast to the deniers; the righteous here implies the people who refrained from denying the Hereafter and accepted it and passed their life in the world with the belief that in the Hereafter they would have to render an account of their word and deed and their conduct and character.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: This is in contrast to the triple shade of smoke and sin for the sinners, which neither gives them coolness nor protects them from the Blazing Fire. The Shade, i.e. Covering, of Allah's Good Pleasure, will be the greatest Boon of all, and the Spring of Allah's Love will be inexhaustible.

وَّفَوَاكِهَ مِمَّا يَشۡتَهُوۡنَؕ‏ 
(42) and the fruits that they desire (will be ready at hand).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: The Final Abode for Those Who have Taqwa

Allah informs that His servants who have Taqwa and worship Him by performing the obligations and abandoning the forbidden things, will be in gardens and springs on the Day of Judgement. This means they will be in the opposite condition of the wretched people, who will be in shades of Al-Yahmum, which is purtrid, black smoke. 

Allah says, (And fruits, such as they desire.) meaning, and from other types of fruits, they will have whatever they request.

كُلُوۡا وَاشۡرَبُوۡا هَنِيْٓئًا ۢ بِمَا كُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ‏
(43) Eat and drink and may every joy attend you as a reward for your deeds.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: The fruits of righteousness are contentment in this life and the supreme Bliss in the next.

اِنَّا كَذٰلِكَ نَجۡزِى الۡمُحۡسِنِيۡنَ‏ 
(44) Thus do We reward those that do good.

وَيۡلٌ يَّوۡمَـئِذٍ لِّلۡمُكَذِّبِيۡنَ‏ 
(45) Woe on that Day to those that give the lie to the Truth!
Here this sentence means that one of their afflictions. as mentioned above, will be that they will be standing as culprits in the plain of Resurrection. Their crimes will have been proved and established openly and they will not be in a position even to open their mouths to put forward a plea in self defense, and shall ultimately become fuel of Hell. Their other affliction, and by far the worse will be that they will see the same believers enjoying themselves in Paradise, whom they had been opposing and resisting and mocking throughout their lives as foolish, narrow-minded, mean and old fashioned people.

Verses 46-50: A warning to the disbelievers

كُلُوۡا وَتَمَتَّعُوۡا قَلِيۡلًا اِنَّكُمۡ مُّجۡرِمُوۡنَ‏ 
(46) Eat and enjoy yourselves for a while. Surely you are evil-doers.
In conclusion, these words are being addressed not only to the disbelievers of Makkah but to all disbelievers of the world. For a while: In their brief life of the world.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: A Threat for Whoever denies the Day of Judgement- Allah says, (Eat and enjoy yourselves for a little while. Verily, you are criminals.) This is an address to the deniers of the Day of Judgement. It is commanding them with a command of threat and intimidation.

(Eat and enjoy yourselves for a little while.) meaning, for a period of time that is short, small and brief. (Verily, you are criminals.) meaning, then you all will be driven to the fire of Hell which has already been mentioned.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: "Eat" is symbolical of having the good things of life in this world. It may be that they are only given for a trial. Because their minds and wishes run to wrong things, the opportunities for wrong are multiplied, as the impetus for good or for evil increases progressively. They are asked to believe and repent. But if they do not, they are to be pitied, even for the good things of this life, for they will come to an evil End in the Hereafter.

وَيۡلٌ يَّوۡمَـئِذٍ لِّلۡمُكَذِّبِيۡنَ‏ 
(47) Woe on that Day to those that give the lie to the Truth!

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:  This is similar to Allah's statement, (We let them enjoy for a little while, then in the end We shall oblige them to a great torment.) (31:24) 

Allah also says, (Verily, those who invent a lie against Allah, will never be successsful. (A brief) enjoyment in this world! And then unto Us will be their return, then We shall make them taste the severest torment because they used to disbelieve.) (10:69,70)

وَاِذَا قِيۡلَ لَهُمُ ارۡكَعُوۡا لَا يَرۡكَعُوۡنَ‏ 
(48) When it is said to them: “Bow down (before Allah),” they do not bow down.
Bowing before Allah: does not only imply worshipping Him but also means believing in the Messenger (peace be upon him) sent by Allah and in the Book revealed by Him and following and obeying His commands.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, when these ignorant disbelievers are ordered to pray with the congregation (of believers), they refuse and turn away from it arrogantly.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Prostration is a symbol of humility and a desire to get nearer to Allah by Prayer and a good life. Those who refuse to adopt this Path are to be pitied: how will they fare at Judgment?

وَيۡلٌ يَّوۡمَـئِذٍ لِّلۡمُكَذِّبِيۡنَ‏ 
(49) Woe on that Day to those that give the lie to the Truth!

فَبِاَىِّ حَدِيۡثٍۢ بَعۡدَهٗ يُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ
(50) In what discourse after this (Qur'an) will they, then, believe?
That is, the greatest message that could distinguish the truth from falsehood for man and show him right guidance, has been sent down in the shape of the Quran. If a person does not believe even after reading it or hearing it read, what else after this can show him the correct guidance?

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: if they do not believe in this Qur'an, then what talk will they believe in This is as Allah says, (Then in which speech after Allah and His Ayat will they believe) (45: 6) This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Mursalat, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah. He is the Giver of success and security.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: "That" may refer to verse 48: they were given plain and clear Guidance, and they refused to accept it: after that what kind of Message will they accept? The Guidance referred to is obviously that of Islam or the Qur'ān.

The reading of the surah tells us that: [7]

(1)The Mujrimoon enjoy in the dunya but their enjoyment is limited. The Muttaqoon will enjoy in the Hereafter but their enjoyment will be ever-lasting. This does not mean they practice asceticism they do enjoy of the good things that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has created but their focus is on the Hereafter.

(2) Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala the reward will be for the Muhsinoon, this tells us that we must do things at the level of excellence and not ‘let’s-get-done-with-it’.

(3) Why will the deniers face stern punishment? It is because they did not bow down to Allah. Therefore, we should bow down to Him in complete submission and abide by what He tells us to do. Those who did not prostrate to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in the dunya will not be able to prostrate in the Hereafter.

(4) Qur’an is the Word of Allah and if a person does not believe in it then he cannot believe in anything else.

Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrated that his mother (Umm al-Fadl) heard him reciting Surah Mursalat so she said, “O my son! You reminded me with your recitation of this Surah. Verily, it is the last thing I heard from the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). He recited it in the Maghrib prayer (before he died).” [Recorded by Bukhari and Muslim]

You may now like to listen to the exegesis of the Opening of Surah al-Mursalat - 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 | 89 |
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 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.  [1]

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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