Wednesday 1 December 2021

Surah Al Waqi'a - The (Inevitable) Event: Exegesis/Tafsir 56th Chapter of Qur'an (Part II)

Sūrah Al Waqi'a " الواقعة‎ "- The (Inevitable) Event is the fifty sixth sürah with 97 āyāt with three rukus, part of the 27th Juzʼ  of the Qur'ān. The surah was revealed in Makkah, specifically around 7 years before the Hegira (622), the migration of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, to Medina. Its theme is the Hereafter, Tauhid and refutation of the Makkan disbelievers' suspicions about the Qur'an. 

The tafsir/exegesis of the sürah will be presented into two parts keeping in view its length and two distinct subject matters discussed in it:

Part I
  • Ruku One: (verses 1-56). Wherein verses 1-38 paint scene of the doomsday when mankind will be divided into three groups, A Reward for the forehand group. Verses are 27-38 explain the Reward for the right-hand group, while verses 39-56 reveal the Punishment for the left-hand group
  • Ruku Two consisting of verses 39-74 explain the Admonition to the disbelievers with the examples of creation
Part II: Ruku Three (verses 75-96)  are about Testimony of Allah about the Quran

We have already presented the overview / summary of the sürah, which also includes its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles and Part I (covering the first two ruku) . Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer of Ruku III. You may also listen to eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan explaining the Surah in English at the end of this post.

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
Ruku Three:  Verses 75-96:  
In verses 75-82 their suspicions in respect of the Qur'an have been refuted and they have been made to realize how fortunate they are that instead of deriving any benefit from the great blessing that the Qur'an is, they are treating it with scant attention and have set only this share of theirs in it that they deny it. If one seriously considers this matchless argument that has been presented in two brief sentences about the truth of the Qur'an, one will find in it the same kind of firm and stable system as exists among the stars and planets of the Universe, and the same is the proof of the fact that its Author is the same Being Who has created the Universe. Then the disbelievers have been told that this Book is inscribed in that Writ of Destiny which is beyond the reach of the creatures, as if to say "You think it is brought down by the devils to Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), whereas none but the pure angels has any access to the means by which it reaches Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) from the well guarded Tablet."

فَلَاۤ اُقۡسِمُ بِمَوٰقِعِ النُّجُوۡمِۙ‏‏ 
( 75 )   Then I swear by the setting of the stars,
That is, "The truth is not what you seem to think it is." Here, the use of the word la (nay) before swearing an oath by the Qur'an's being Allah's Revelation by itself shows that the oath has been sworn to refute certain objections that the disbelievers wen raising with regard to the Qur'an.  

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Allah swears to the Greatness of the Qur'an:
The usage of La (in Fala) is not an extra character without meaning, as some of the scholars of Tafsir say. Rather it is used at the beginning of an oath when the oath is a negation. This is like when `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her said, "La by Allah! Allah's Messenger did not touch any woman's hand at all. So in this way, the meaning is, "No! I swear by the Mawaqi` of the stars. The matter is not as you people claim - about the Qur'an - that it is a result of magic or sorcery, rather it is an Honorable Qur'an.'' 

Ibn Jarir said, "Some of the scholars of the Arabic language said that the meaning of:
(فَلاَ أُقْسِمُ Fala! I swear) is, `The matter is not as you people have claimed.' Then He renews the oath again by saying, `I swear.'''
(فَلاَ أُقْسِمُ بِمَوَقِعِ النُّجُومِ (Fala! I swear by the Mawaqi` of the stars.) Mujahid said, "The setting positions of the stars in the sky,'' and he said that it refers to the rising and setting positions. This was said by Al-Hasan, Qatadah and preferred by Ibn Jarir. Qatadah also said that it means their positions. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Or: "the setting [or "orbiting"] of the stars". The term mawqi' (of which mawaqi' is the plural) denotes the "time [or "place" or "manner"] at which something comes down". Although many of the commentators think that the phrase mawaqi' an-nujum relates to the break-up of the stars at the Last Hour, Ibn 'Abbas, 'Ikrimah and As-Suddi were definitely of the opinion, strongly supported by the subsequent verses, that this phrase refers to the step-by-step revelation - or "coming-down in parts (nujum)" - of the Qur'an (cf. Tabari and Ibn Kathir; see also 53:1 ). By "calling to witness" the gradual manner of its revelation, the Qur'an points implicitly to the astounding fact that it has remained free of all inconsistencies and inner contradictions (cf. 4:82 and the corresponding note [97]) despite all the dramatic changes in the Prophet's life during the twenty-three years of the "unfolding" of the divine writ: and this explains, too, the subsequent parenthetic clause (verse {76}). 

Javed Ahmed Ghamidi  Explanation: The actual words are: فَلَا٘ اُقْسِمُ بِمَوٰقِعِ النُّجُوْمِ. The word لَا before اُقۡسِمُ is meant to negate the falsities people were inventing against the Qur’ān. I have translated this expression while revealing this suppression. 

Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes: … This style of language is a very natural style and for this reason is found in every language. It is even present in other languages. When it is said: “No by God! The truth is this,” we employ this very style and the objective is to negate some notion, view or objection of an addressee before affirming the real truth. The eloquence in this style is that so baseless is the objection of the objector that the speaker does not even want to wait for a moment to put up with it. He is not even ready to negate it after explaining the true aspect. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 8, 182)

"I present as witness the abodes where stars fall"  This is a mention of the places on which shooting stars are pelted according to the Qur’ān so that devils are not able to sit there and eavesdrop on divine secrets. Here, the word مَوٰقِع is used which means the place where something happens or falls. The purpose of using this word is to point to the targets of the shooting stars. In verse 9 of Sūrah al-Jinn, these places are called مَقَاعِد because there the meaning of ambuscade is implied. The word نُجُوۡم refers to shooting stars. It is specified in verse 5 of Sūrah al-Mulk that the stars which light up the skies become a means of bombardment on the devils (رُجُوۡمًا لِّلشَّيٰطِيۡنِ).

وَاِنَّهٗ لَقَسَمٌ لَّوۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ عَظِيۡمٌۙ‏ 

( 76 )   And indeed, it is an oath - if you could know - [most] great.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (And verily that is indeed a great oath, if you but know.) meaning, `this is a great vow that I -- Allah -- am making; if you knew the greatness of this vow, you will know the greatness of the subject of the vow,' 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The glory of the firmament as it exists, and the wonder of its passing away, are both evidence, to the discerning mind, of the Future which Allah has prepared, but this evidence can only be effective if men but knew, ie., turned their earnest attention to it.

Javed Ahmed Ghamidi Explanation: This is an apt parenthetical sentence. The implication is that if people try to understand, then this is a very important secret of this universe which has been revealed by the Almighty so that they do not indulge in baseless allegations about the Qur’ān which have been hitherto doing and also understand that the place of its origin can never be accessed by the devils.

اِنَّهٗ لَـقُرۡاٰنٌ كَرِيۡمٌۙ‏ 
( 77 )   Indeed, it is a noble Qur'an
The positions of the stars" : the positions and phases and orbits of the stars and planets. The oath implies that just as the system of the celestial bodies is firm and stable, so also is this Divine Word firm and stable. The same God Who has coated that system has also sent down this Word. Just as there exists perfect. consistency and harmony among the countless stars and planets found in the countless galaxies of the Universe, whereas apparently they seem to be scattered, so also this Book presents a perfectly consistent, and systematic code of life in which detailed guidance has been given, on the basis of belief, about morals, modes of worship, civilization and culture, economic and social life, law and justice, peace and war, in short, about every aspect of human life, and there is nothing out of harmony with the other, whereas this system of thought has been expressed in scattered verses and discourses given on different occasions. Then, just as the system of the heavens set and planned by God is stable and unalterable, and does not ever admit of the slightest variation, so also are the truths and instructions given , in this Book stable and unalterable: no part of these can be changed or displaced in any way.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (That (this) is indeed an honorable recitation.) means, verily, this Qur'an that was revealed to Muhammad is a Glorious Book,

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Your attention is drawn to the momentous issues of the Future by the Qur-an. It is a Revelation described by four characteristics. (1) It is most honourable, karim, which implies, besides the fact that it is worthy of receiving honour, that it confers great favours on those who receive it. (2) It is well-guarded, maknun; precious in itself, and well- preserved in its purity; see n. 5234 to lvi. 23; see also xv. 9, and n. 1944. (3) None but the clean shall touch it,-dean in body, mind, thought, intention, and soul; only such can achieve real contact with its full meaning. (4) It is a Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds, and therefore universal for all.

Javed Ahmed Ghamidi Explanation: The complement of oath (muqsam ‘alayh) extends from here until verse 80. It is this premise on which evidence is presented on the protection of the Qur’ān at the time of its revelation.

فِىۡ كِتٰبٍ مَّكۡنُوۡنٍۙ‏ 
( 78 )   In a Register well-protected;
This implies the well-guarded Tablet (lohe-mahfuz). For it the word kitabin maknun has been used, which means a writing kept hidden, i.e. a writing that is inaccessible to all. The Quran’s having been inscribed in this well guarded Book means that before its being sent down to the Prophet (peace be upon him) it lay inscribed in the divine writ of destiny in which there is no possibility of any alteration or corruption taking place, for it is inaccessible to every kind of creation.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir:  (In a Book Maknun.) meaning glorious; in a glorious, well-guarded, revered Book.

Javed Ahmed Ghamidi Explanation: This refers to the Guarded Tablet. The actual words are: كِتٰبٍ مَّكْنُوْنٍ which means a writing that has been concealed.

لَّا يَمَسُّهٗۤ اِلَّا الۡمُطَهَّرُوۡنَؕ‏ 
( 79 )   None touch it except the purified.
This is a refutation of the accusation that the disbelievers used to loud against the Qur'an. They regarded the Holy Prophet as a sorcerer and asserted that he was being inspired with the Word by the jinn and satans. An answer to it has been given at several places in the Qur'an, e.g. in Surah Ash-Shu'ara', where it has been said: "This (lucid Book) has not beer brought down by satans, nor does this work behoove them, nor arc they able to do it. They have indeed been kept out of its hearing." (vv. 210-212). The same theme has been expressed here, Saying: 'None but the purified can touch it." That is to say "Not to speak of its being brought down by the satans, or its being tampered within any way when it is being revealed, none but the pure angels can come anywhere near it when it is being revealed from the well-guarded Tablet (Lauh-mahfuz; : to the Prophet. " The word mutahharin has been used for the angels in the sense that Allah has kept them free of every kind of impure feeling and desire. This same commentary of this verse has been given by Anas bin Malik, Ibn 'Abbas, Sa'id bin Jubair, 'Ikrimah, Mujahid, Qatadah, Abul 'Aliyah, Suddi, Dahhak and Ibn Zaid, and the same also fits in with the context. For the context itself shows that after refuting the false concepts of the Makkan disbelievers about Tauhid and the Hereafter, now their false accusations against the Qur'an are being answered, and by swearing an oath by the positions of the stars, it is being stated that the Qur'an is an exalted Book, which is inscribed in the well-guarded Divine Writ, in which there is no possibility of any interference by any creation, and it is revealed to the Prophet in such a safe way that none but the pure angels can touch it.

Some commentators have taken la in this verse in the sense of prohibition, and have interpreted the verse to mean: "None who is unclean should touch it. " Although some other commentators take la in the sense of negation and interpret the verse to mean: "None but the clean and pure touch this Book," they express the opinion that this negation is a prohibition in the same way as the Holy Prophet's saying is a prohibition: "A Muslim is a brother of a Muslim: he does not treat him unjustly." Although in it, it has been said that a Muslim does not treat the other Muslim unjustly, you it enjoins that a Muslim is not to treat the other Muslim unjustly. Likewise, although in this verse it has been state that none but the clean and pure angels touch this Book, yet it enjoins that unless a person is purified, he should not touch it.

The fact, however, is that this commentary does not conform to the context of the verse. Independent of the context, one may take this meaning from its words, but if considered in the context in which the verse occurs, one does not sec any ground for saying that "None is to touch this Book except the clean and purified people. " For the addressees here are the disbelievers and they arc being told, as if to say: `This Book has been sent down by Allah Lord of the worlds. Therefore, your suspicion that the satans inspire the Prophet with it, is wrong. " What could be the occasion here to enunciate the Shari'ah injunction that no one should touch it without purification? The most that one could say in this regard is that although this verse has not been sent down to enjoin this command, yet the context points out that just as only the purified (mutahharin) can touch this Book in the presence of Allah, so in the world also the people who at least believe in its being Divine Word should avoid touching it in the impure and unclean state.

The following are the traditions that bear upon this subject:

(1) Imam Malik has related in Mu' atta this tradition on the authority of 'Abdullah bin Abi Bakr Muhammad bin 'Amr bin Hazm: "The written instructions that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) had sent to the Yarnanite chiefs by the hand of 'Amr bin Hazm contained this instruction also: La yamass-ul Qur an a illa tahir-un. No one should touch the Qur'an except the pure one." This same thing has been related by Abu Da'ud from Imam Zuhri in the Traditions which are immediately traced to the Holy Prophet (marasil), saying that the writing that he had seen with Abu Bakr Muhammad bin 'Amr bin Hazm contained this instruction as well.

(2) The traditions from Hadrat 'Ali in which he says: 'Nothing prevented the Holy Prophet of Allah from reciting the Qur'an but the state of uncleanness due to sexual intercourse." (Abu Da'ud, Nasa'i, Tirmidhi).

(3) The tradition of Ibn 'Umar in which he states: "The Holy Messenger of Allah said: The menstruating woman and the one who is unclean on account of sexual intercourse should not read any portion of the Qur'an. " (Abu Da'ud. Tirmidhi).

(4) The tradition of Bukhari in which it has been said that the letter which the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) sent to Heraclius, the Roman emperor, also contained this verse of the Qur'an: Ya ahl al-Kitab-i to 'alau ila kalimat-in sawaa'un bainana wa baina-kum .. .

The views that have been related from the Holy Prophet's Companions and their immediate followers are as follows:

Salman, the Persian, saw no harm in reading the Qur'an without the ablutions, but even according to him touching the Qur'an with the hand in this state was not permissible. The same also was the view of Hadrat Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas and Hadrat 'Abdullah bin 'Umar. And Hadrat Hasan Basri and Ibrahim Nakha'i also regarded touching the Qur'an with the hand without the ablutions as disapproved, (AI-Jassas, Ahkam al-Qur an)). The same has been reported from 'Ata', Ta'us, Sha'bi and Qasim bin Muhammad also. (Ibn Qudamah, Al-Mughni). However, according to all of them, reading the Qur'an without touching it with the hand, or reciting it from memory, was permissible even without the ablutions.

Hadrat 'Umar, Hadrat 'Ali, Hadrat Hasan Basri. Hadrat Ibrahim Nakha'i and Imam Zuhri regarded reading the Qur'an in the state of uncleanness due to sexual intercourse and menstruation and bleeding after childbirth as disapproved. But Ibn 'Abbas held the view, and the same also was his practice, that one could recite from memory the portion of the Qur'an that one usually recited as one's daily practice. When Hadrat Sa'id bin al-Musayyab and Sa`id bin Jubair were asked about their view in this regard, they replied: "Is not the Qur'an preserved in the memory of such a person ? What then is the harm in reciting it ?" (AI-Mughni, .9l-Muhalla by Ibn Hazm).

The following are the viewpoints of the jurists on this subject:

The Hanafi viewpoint has been explained by Imam `Ala-'uddin al-Kashani in his Bada I as-Sana i, thus "lust as it is not permissible to offer the Prayer without the ablutions, so also it is not permissible to touch the Qur'an without the ablutions, However, if the Qur'an is in a cast or a cover, it may be touched. " According to some jurists, the case or cover implies the binding, and according to others, the bag or the envelope or the wrapper in which the Qur'an is kept and can also be taken out. Likewise, the books of the commentary also should not be touched without the ablutions, nor anything else in which a Qur'anic verse may have been written. However, the books of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) may be touched although preferably they too may not be touched without the ablutions, for they also contain Qur'anic verses as part of argument and reasoning. Some Hanafi jurists hold the opinion that only that part of the Qur'an where the Text may have been written should not be touched without the ablutions. As for the margins there is no harm in touching it, whether they are blank or contain notes on the Text. The .correct thing, however, is that the margins also are a part of the Book and touching them amounts to touching the Book. As for reading the Qur'an, it is permissible without the ablutions. " In Fatawa 'Alamgiri children have been made an exception from this rule. The Qur'an can be given in the children's hand for teaching purposes whether they are in the state of ablutions or not..

The Shafi'i viewpoint has been stated by Imam Nawawi in Al-Minhaj, thus, "As it is for the Prayer and the circumambulation of the Ka'bah, it is also forbidden to handle the Qur'an or to touch a leaf of it without the ablutions. Likewise, it is also forbidden w touch the binding of the Qur'an, and also a bag, or a bow containing the Qur'an, or a tablet on which a part of the Qur'an may have been written for instructional purposes. However, it is lawful to touch the baggage of a person containing the Qur'anic inscription. A child may touch the Qur'an without the ablutions, and a person without ablutions may turn over a leaf with a piece of wood, or something else, if he wants to read the Qur'an.

The Maliki position as stated in Al-Fiqh 'alal-Madhahib al- Arbah is: They concur with the other jurists in this that the state of ablutions is a prerequisite for touching the Qur'an, but in the matter of imparting instruction in the Qur'an they make both the teacher and the taught an exception from the rule, and allow even a menstruating woman to touch the Qur'an if she is engaged in learning or teaching it. Ibn Qadamah has cited in Al-Mughni this saying of Imam Malik: Although reading the Qur'an in the state of uncleanness due to sexual intercourse is forbidden, the woman who is discharging the menses is permitted to read it, for she would forget her recitations if prohibited from reading the Qur'an for along time. The Hanbali viewpoint as stated by Ibn Qadamah is as follows: In the state of uncleanness due to sexual intercourse and menstruation and bleeding after childbirth it is not permissible to read the Qur'an or any complete verse of it. However, it is permissible to recite bismillah, al-hamdu-lillah, etc. for although these also are parts of one or the other verse, their recitation does not amount to recitation of the Qur'an. As for handling the Qur'an, it is not permissible in any case without the ablutions. However, one is not forbidden to touch a letter, or a book of Fiqh, or some other writing containing a Qur'anic verse. Likewise, one may handle even without the ablutions, something that contains the Qur'an. The state of ablutions is also no pre-requisite for .handling the books of exegesis. Furthermore, if a person who is not in the state of ablutions is required to handle the Qur'an under an immediate need, he may do so after purification with the dust (tayammum). " AI-Fiqh `alal-Madhahib al- `Arabah contains this ruling also of the Hanbali Fiqh: It is not right for the children to handle the Qur'an without ablutions even when receiving instruction in it, and it is the duty of their guardians to make them perform the ablutions before they give the Qur'an to them.

The Zahiri viewpoint is that reading the Qur'an and handling it is permissible under all conditions, whether one is without the ablutions, or unclean due to sexual intercourse, or even if the woman is menstruating. Ibn Hazm has discussed this question fully in Al-Muhalla (vol. 1, pp. 77-84) and given arguments for the validity of this viewpoint and has concluded that none of the conditions laid down by the jurists for reading the Qur'an and handling it, is supported by the Qur'an and the Sunnah.  

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (Which none touches but the pure ones.) he said, "The Book that is in heaven.'' 

Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas about: (Which none touches but the pure ones.) that `the pure ones' means: "The angels.'' Similar was said by Anas, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Ad-Dahhak, Abu Ash-Sha`tha' Jabir bin Zayd, Abu Nahik, As-Suddi, `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam and others. 

Ibn Jarir narrated that Ibn `Abdul-A`la said that Ibn Thawr said that Ma`mar said from Qatadah about: (Which none touches but the pure ones.) that he said, "None can touch it, with Allah, except the pure ones. However, in this life, the impure Zoroastrian and the filthy hypocrite touch it.'' And he said, "In the recitation of Ibn Mas`ud it is: (مَا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ) (It is not touched, except by the pure ones.)

Abu Al-`Aliyah said: (Which none touches but the pure ones.) "It does not refer to you, because you are sinners!'' Ibn Zayd said, "The Quraysh disbelievers claimed that the devils brought down the Qur'an. 

Allah the Exalted stated that only the pure ones touch the Qur'an, as He said: (And it is not the Shayatin who have brought it down. Neither would it suit them nor they can (produce it). Verily, they have been removed far from hearing it.)(26:210-212)'' This saying is a good saying, and does not contradict those before it.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., which only the pure of heart can truly understand and derive benefit from. As for the preceding reference to "a well-guarded [i.e., incorruptible] divine writ" (kitab maknun), see {85:21-22} and explanation.

تَنۡزِيۡلٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّ الۡعٰلَمِيۡنَ‏ 
( 80 )   [It is] a revelation from the Lord of the worlds.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (A revelation from the Lord of all that exists. ) meaning this Qur'an is a revelation from the Lord of all that exists, not as they say that it is magic, sorcery or poetry. Rather it is the truth, no doubt about it; there is none beyond it of useful truth.

اَفَبِهٰذَا الۡحَـدِيۡثِ اَنۡتُمۡ مُّدۡهِنُوۡنَۙ‏ 
( 81 )   Then is it to this statement that you are indifferent
Literally, idhan (from which mudhinun of the Text is derived) means to treat something with contempt, to deny its due importance, to regard it as unworthy of serious attention, to hold it in light esteem. 

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (Is it such a talk that you are Mudhinun) Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas that Mudhinun means, "You do not believe in and deny.'' Similar to this was said by Ad-Dahhak, Abu Hazrah and As-Suddi. Mujahid said, (Mudhinun) means "You want to fill yourselves with and rely upon.''

Muhammad Asad Explanation: (Would you, now, look down with disdain on a tiding like this,) I.e., the message of resurrection and judgment.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: (Is it such a Message that ye would hold in light esteem? ) The Message being such as is described in the last note, how can any one ignore it or treat it with contempt or refuse to allow it to improve his life?

وَتَجۡعَلُوۡنَ رِزۡقَكُمۡ اَنَّكُمۡ تُكَذِّبُوۡنَ‏ 
( 82 )   And make [the thanks for] your provision that you deny [the Provider]?
In his commentary of taj `aluna rizqa-kum, Imam Razi has expressed the view that probably the word rizq here means livelihood. Since the disbelieving Qaraish regarded the message of the Qur'an as harmful to their economic interests and feared that if it succeeded it would deprive them of their means of livelihood, the verse may also mean this: "You have made the denial of this Qur'an a question of your economic interests, and for you the question of the right and wrong is of no consequence; the only thing of real importance in your sight is the bread for the sake of which you would least hesitate to oppose the truth and adhere to the falsehood."

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (And you make your provision your denial!) some of them said that provision here has the meaning of gratitude, meaning: you deny without any gratitude. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that he recited it as: (وَتَجْعَلُونَ شُكْرَكُمْ أَنَّكُمْ تُكَذِّبُونَ) (And your show of your gratitude by denying!) Ibn Jarir narrated from Muhammad bin Bashshar, who narrated from Muhammad bin Ja`far, who narrated from Shu`bah, from Abu Bishr, from Sa`id bin Jubayr who said that Ibn `Abbas said, "It has never rained upon a people except that some of them became disbelievers by saying, `Such and such position of a star sent rain!''' And Ibn `Abbas recited: (وَتَجْعَلُونَ شُكْرَكُمْ أَنَّكُمْ تُكَذِّبُونَ) (And you show of your gratitude by denying.) This chain of narration is Sahih to Ibn `Abbas. In his Muwatta', Malik reported from Salih bin Kaysan, from `Ubaydullah bin `Abdullah bin `Utbah bin Mas`ud, from Zayd bin Khalid Al-Juhani who said, "The Prophet led us in the Subh (dawn) prayer at Al-Hudaybiyah after a rainy night. 

On completion of the prayer, he faced the congregation and said, (Do you know what your Lord has said (revealed)) Those present replied, `Allah and His Messenger know best.'
He said, (Allah has said, "During this morning some of my servants remained as true believers in Me and some became disbelievers. Whoever said that the rain was due to the blessings and the mercy of Allah, had belief in Me, and he disbelieves in the stars; and whoever said that it rained because of a particular star, had no belief in Me, but believes in that star.'')'' This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs, Abu Dawud and An-Nasa'i, all using a chain of narration in which Imam Malik was included. Qatadah said, "Al-Hasan used to say, `How evil is that all that some people have earned for themselves from the Book of Allah, is denying it!''' Al-Hasan's statement means that such people gained no benefit from the Book of Allah because they denied it, as Allah said: (Is it such a talk that you Mudhinun And you make your provision that you deny!)

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The worst indictment of an enemy of Revelation would be that he should make Falsehood a source of filthy lucre for himself, or that he should let his precious life be corrupted by such unholy occupation.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Here the Qur’ān is regarded to be God’s sustenance; in ancient scriptures also this expression is used for divine revelation. Jesus (sws) is reported to have said: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God,” (Matthew, 4:4)).

Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes: … The verse would mean that the Almighty revealed divine sustenance for them so that they could attain eternal life from it; however, it is their misfortune that they are showing a degrading attitude towards it and not giving it its due importance. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 8, 185)

Conclusion (83-96): Man has been warned, as if to say: "You may brad and boast as you like and may shut your eyes to the truths in your arrogance of independence, but death is enough to open your eyes. At death you become helpless: you cannot save your own parents; you cannot save your children; you cannot save your religious guided and beloved leaders. They all die in front of your vary eyes while you look on helplessly. If there is no supreme power ruling over you, and your this assumption is correct that you are all in all in the world, and there is no God, then why don't you restore to the dying person his soul? Just as you are helpless in this, so it is also beyond your power to stop Allah from calling the people to account and mete out rewards and punishments to them. You may or may not believe it, but every dying person will surely see his own end after death. If he belongs to those nearest to God, he will see the good end meant for them if he be from among the righteous, he will see the end prepared for the righteous; and if he be from among the deniers of the truth, he will see the end destined for the criminals.

فَلَوۡلَاۤ اِذَا بَلَغَتِ الۡحُـلۡقُوۡمَۙ‏ 
( 83 )   Then why, when the soul at death reaches the throat

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: When the Soul reaches the Throat at the Time of Death, it cannot be brought back; this proves Reckon.

Allah the Exalted said, (Then why do you not (intervene) when it reaches), in reference to the soul, (Al-Hulqum), i.e., the throat, at the time of death. 

Allah the Exalted said in other Ayat, (Nay, when (the soul) reaches to the collar bone, and it will be said: "Who can cure him (and save him from death)'' And he will conclude that it was (the time) of parting (death); And one leg will be joined with another leg (shrouded). The drive will be on that Day to your Lord (Allah).)(75:26-30)

Muhammad Asad Explanation: (Why, then,when [the last breath] comes up to the throat [of a dying man],) The elliptic implication is: "If, then, as you claim, you are really independent of any Supreme Power, why do you not...", etc., thus connecting with verses {57-74}.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: (Then why do ye not (intervene) when (the soul of the dying man) reaches the throat) There is a hiatus after "why do ye not?"-and two parenthetical clauses,-after which the clause "why do ye not?" is resumed again in verse 86 below, with its complement in verse 87. It is permissible to the translator to add some such word as "intervene" here, to make the translation run smoothly.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: (So if you are subservient to no one, then at the time when a dying person’s soul reaches his throat ) The actual words are: فَلَوْلَا٘ اِذَا بَلَغَتِ الْحُلْقُوْمَ. The subject of the verb بَلَغَتِ is suppressed. The eloquence found in it is that because of the ambiguity created the terrifying nature of the incident becomes more pronounced.

وَاَنۡتُمۡ حِيۡنَـئِذٍ تَـنۡظُرُوۡنَۙ‏ 
( 84 )   And you are at that time looking on -

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (And you at the moment are looking,) at the dying person and witnessing the stupor of death that he is experiencing,

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: (And ye the while (sit) looking on) The dying man's friends, relatives, and companions may be sitting round him and quite close to him in his last moments, but Allah is nearer still at all times for He is nearer than the man's own jugular vein (I. 16), and one of Allah's own titles is "Ever Near" (xxxiv. 50).

وَنَحۡنُ اَقۡرَبُ اِلَيۡهِ مِنۡكُمۡ وَلٰـكِنۡ لَّا تُبۡصِرُوۡنَ‏ 
( 85 )   And Our angels are nearer to him than you, but you do not see -

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (But We are nearer to him than you, ) with Our angels, (but you see not.) you cannot see the angels. 

Allah the Exalted said in another Ayah, (He is the Irresistible over His servants, and He sends guardians (angels) over you, until when death approaches one of you, Our messengers (angel of death and his assistants) take his soul, and they never neglect their duty. Then they are returned to Allah, their true Protector. Surely, for Him is the judgement and He is the swiftest in taking account.)(6:61-62)

فَلَوۡلَاۤ اِنۡ كُنۡتُمۡ غَيۡرَ مَدِيۡنِيۡنَۙ‏ 
( 86 )   Then why do you not, if you are not to be recompensed,

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (Then why do you not -- if you are not Madinin -- return the soul,) means, `Will you not return this soul, that has reached the throat, to its body as it used to be, if you are exempt from the reckoning and recompense' Sa`id bin Jubayr and Al-Hasan Al-Basri said: (Then why do you not -- if you are not Madinin. ..), "If you do not believe that you will be reckoned, recompensed, resurrected and punished, then why do you not return this soul to its body'' 

Mujahid said that, (...if you are not Madinin), means, "if you are not certain.''

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: (Then why do you not if you are exempt from (future) account) These words resume the sentence begun at verse 83 above and interrupted by the two parenthetical clauses in verses 84 and 85. 

تَرۡجِعُوۡنَهَاۤ اِنۡ كُنۡتُمۡ صٰدِقِيۡنَ‏ 
( 87 )   Bring it back, if you should be truthful?

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Call back the soul if ye are true (in your claim of Independence)? The sentence may now be briefly paraphrased. 'If you disbelieve in Revelation and a future Judgment, and claim to do what you like and be independent of Allah, how is it you cannot call back a dying man's soul to his body when all of you congregate round him at his death-bed? But you are not independent of Judgment. There is a Day of Account, when you will have to be judged by your deeds in this life.'

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: (then why do you not restore his [departing] soul, if you are truthful?) The implication is that helplessness in death shows that man is totally subservient to someone. Whenever God wants, He will summon them to His presence; people observe this helplessness day and night and in spite of this regard themselves to wield absolute power and subservience to none. If they are true in their claim, they should try to stop the angel of death from claiming the soul of some dear one.

فَاَمَّاۤ اِنۡ كَانَ مِنَ الۡمُقَرَّبِيۡنَۙ‏ 
( 88 )   And if the deceased was of those brought near to Allah,

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: The Condition of People at the Time of Their Death:
These are the three types of conditions that people face upon their death. Either they are among the near believers or those below their rank on the right, or those who denied the truth, were led astray from the guidance and were ignorant about Allah. 

Allah said, (Then if he), in reference to the dying person, (be of the Muqarrabun) who fulfilled the obligations and the recommended acts of worship and avoided the forbidden and disliked matters and even some of the allowed,

Muhammad Asad Explanation: ([ALL OF YOU are destined to die.] Now if one happens to be of those who are drawn close unto God,) I.e., the "foremost" spoken of in verses {10-11} of this surah.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: (Thus then if he be of those Nearest to Allah) See above. lvi. 11-26

فَرَوۡحٌ وَّ رَيۡحَانٌ ۙ وَّجَنَّتُ نَعِيۡمٍ‏
( 89 )   Then [for him is] rest and bounty and a garden of pleasure.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (then for him Rawh, Rayhan and a Garden of Delights.) Theirs will be Rawh and Rayhan; and the glad tidings of these traits will be conveyed to them by the angels at the time of death. 

We mentioned before the Prophet's Hadith narrated from Al-Bara' in which the angels of mercy say (to a dying, believing person), (O good soul in the good body that you inhabited, come to Rawh, Rayhan and a Lord Who is not angry.) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas, "Rawh means rest, and Rayhan means place of rest.'' Mujahid said similarly that Rawh means rest. Abu Hazrah said that Rawh means: "Rest from the world.'' Sa`id bin Jubayr and As-Suddi said that it means to rejoice. 

And from Mujahid: (Rawh and Rayhan) means: "Paradise and delights.'' Qatadah said that Rawh means mercy. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Sa`id bin Jubayr said that Rayhan means provisions. All of these explanations are correct and similar in meaning. The near believers who die will earn all of these; mercy, rest, provision, joy, happiness and good delights,

(and a Garden of Delights.) Abu Al-`Aliyah said, "None of the near believers will depart (this life) until after he is brought a branch of the Rayhan of Paradise and his soul is captured in it.'' Muhammad bin Ka`b said, "Every person who dies will know upon his death if he is among the people of Paradise or the people of the Fire.'' 

In the Sahih, it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah said, (The souls of the martyrs live in the bodies of green birds flying wherever they wish in the Gardens of Paradise, and then rest to their nests in chandeliers hung from the Throne of the Almighty....) 

Imam Ahmad recorded that `Ata' bin As-Sa'ib said, "The first day I saw `Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Layla, I saw an old man whose hair had become white on his head and beard. He was riding his donkey and following a funeral. I heard him say, `So-and-so narrated to me that he heard the Messenger of Allah say, (He who likes to meet Allah, Allah likes to meet him, and he who hates to meet Allah, Allah hates to meet him.) The people around him started weeping, and he asked them why they wept. They said, `All of us hate death.' He said,

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: ((There is for him) Rest and Satisfaction and a Garden of Delights. ) Raihan: sweet-smelling plants, as in Iv. 12. Here used as an indication of Satisfaction and Delight.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: (for him is bliss and ecstasy and an orchard of delight.) The actual word is: رَيۡحَان. Originally, it means “a flower.” However, it is also used to connote its consequences like fragrance and the bliss felt because of this fragrance. 

وَاَمَّاۤ اِنۡ كَانَ مِنۡ اَصۡحٰبِ الۡيَمِيۡنِۙ‏ 
( 90 )   And if he was of the companions of the right,

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (And if he be of those on the right,) means, if he, the dying person, is among those on the right,

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: ( And if he be of the Companions of the Right Hand) See above, lvi. 27-38

فَسَلٰمٌ لَّكَ مِنۡ اَصۡحٰبِ الۡيَمِيۡنِؕ‏ 
( 91 )   Then [the angels will say], "Peace for you; [you are] from the companions of the right."

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (Then Salam (peace) to you from those on the right) meaning, the angels will deliver the good news to them by saying, "Peace be upon you,'' i.e., be calm, you will be led to safety, you are among those on the right, as `Ikrimah said, "The angels will greet him with the Salam and convey to him the news that he is among those on the right. '' 

This is a good explanation, and it conforms with Allah's statement, (Verily, those who say: "Our Lord is Allah.'' and then they stand firm, on them the angles will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): "Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised! We have been your friends in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hereafter. Therein you shall have (all) that your souls desire, and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask. An entertainment from the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.'') (41:30-32).

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: (For him is the salutation) "Peace be unto thee" from the Companions of the Right Hand. In lvi. 26 above the salutation of "Peace, Peace!" is addressed to those Nearest to Allah. Here we learn that it is also addressed to the Companions of the Right Hand. Both are in Gardens of Bliss; only the former have a higher Dignity than the latter.

وَاَمَّاۤ اِنۡ كَانَ مِنَ الۡمُكَذِّبِيۡنَ الضَّآلِّيۡنَۙ‏ 
( 92 )   But if he was of the deniers [who were] astray,

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (But if he be of the denying, the erring, then for him is an entertainment with Hamim (boiling water) and entry in Hellfire.) meaning, if the dying person is one of those who denied the truth, who were led astray from guidance,

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: (And if he be of those who treat (truth) as Falsehood who go wrong ) Cf. above, lvi. 51-55.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:  These people are mentioned with reference to their crime instead of being mentioned as the companions of the left hand. The purpose is that the discourse becomes fully applicable to the addressees and the nature of their crime is also evident.

فَنُزُلٌ مِّنۡ حَمِيۡمٍۙ‏ 
( 93 )   Then [for him is] accommodation of scalding water

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (فَنُزُلٌ then for him is an entertainment,) meaning, as a guest, (مِنْ حَمِيمٍ with Hamim) that dissolves his intestines and skin, (وَتَصْلِيَةُ جَحِيمٍ  And entry in Hellfire.) he will reside in Hellfire, which will engulf him from every direction. 

وَّتَصۡلِيَةُ جَحِيۡمٍ‏ 
( 94 )   And burning in Hellfire

اِنَّ هٰذَا لَهُوَ حَقُّ الۡيَـقِيۡنِۚ‏
( 95 )   Indeed, this is the true certainty,

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (Verily, this! This is an absolute truth with certainty.) meaning, this news is the truth; there is no doubt about it, nor escape from it for anyone,

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "a truth of certainty", i.e., a truth most certain. The pronoun "this" in the above sentence relates not merely to the announcement of resurrection and life after death, but also - and primarily - to the stress on man's utter dependence on God.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: "The assurance of the Hereafter" is one of the strongest features of Faith. For without it the apparent inequalities and injustices of this Life cannot be satisfactorily explained.

فَسَبِّحۡ بِاسۡمِ رَبِّكَ الۡعَظِيۡمِ‏ 
( 96 )   So exalt the name of your Lord, the Most Great.
Hadrat `Uqbah bin `Amir Juhni relates that when this verse was sent down the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) commanded that the people put it in their ruku`, i.e. they should recite Subhana Rabbi -yal-`Azim in ruku ' position in the Prayer. And when the verse Sabbih-ismi-Rabb-i- kal-A'la was Sent down, he enjoined that they put it in their sajdah, i.e. they should recite Subhana Rabb-i -yal-a na in sajdah. (Musnad Ahmad, Abu Da'ud, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, Hakim). This show that even the most minor details of the procedure enjoined by the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) for the Prayer are derived from the allusions given in the Qur'an.  

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (So, glorify with praises the Name of your Lord, the Most Great.) 

Jabir narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, (He who says, "Glory be to Allah the Magnificent and with His praise!'' then a date tree will be planted for him in Paradise.) This Hadith was collected by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i; At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Gharib.'' 

Al-Bukhari recorded in his book (Sahih) that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said, ((There are) two statements that are light on the tongue, but heavy on the Balance, and most beloved to Ar-Rahman: "Glory be to Allah and with His praise, glory be to Allah the Magnificent.'') The Group, with the exception of Abu Dawud, collected this. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Waqi`ah, all praise and thanks are due to Allah and all the favors come from Him.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. lvi. 74 above. That was the conclusion of the argument about the Future from the examples of Allah's goodness in nature. Now we have the conclusion of the same argument from Allah's revelation through His inspired Messengers.

You may now like to listen to Part 5 of the explanation of the sürah by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:

Please refer to our Reference Page "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, explanation and exegesis of all other chapters of the Qur'an. You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
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 and explanation 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 (links to Reference Pages given below):  
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Tafsir Nouman Ali Khan
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given below. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites:

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 67 | 8 | 9

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