Showing posts with label Surah Al ‘Adiyat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Surah Al ‘Adiyat. Show all posts

Friday 4 September 2020

Surah Al ‘Adiyat - The Chargers: Exegesis / Tafsir 100th Chapter of Qur'an

Sūrat Al-ʿĀdiyāt " العاديات‎ سورة " is the 100th sürah with 11 ayahs, part of the 30th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. The Surah has been so entitled after the word Al ‘Adiyat with which it opens. The subject matter of the Surah and its style indicates that it is not only Makki (Meccan) but was revealed in the earliest stage of Makkah. In this surah, Allah swears by the Horses of War about the Ungratefulness of Man and His Zeal for Wealth.

Eminent Muslim scholar and linguist Nouman Ali Khan observes that Sūrat Al-ʿĀdiyāt justifies the events of the Previous sūrah, sūrah Zilzal [99].What is it that led to the final earthquake/zilzal?The greed, carelessness and lack of responsibility for the humans actions makes the earthquake a total quaking. And then man foolishly asks: 'What is wrong with her?!  Then the Earth spills out the proofs of what the person did of oppression, and sin on it.This surah will explain what type of sins were performed on it (the earth).The style of the surah is extremely powerful in presenting to mankind how ungrateful man really is.

An introduction to the sürah has already been given. Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. You may also listen to its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles at the end of the post:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
وَالْعَادِيَاتِ ضَبْحًا 
( 1 )   By the racers, panting,

There is no indication in the words of the verse to show whether those who run imply the horses; only the word wal-adiyat (by, those who run) has been used. That is why the commentators have disputed as to what is implied by those who run. One section of the companions and their immediate successors has been to think that it implies the horses; another section says that it implies the camels. But since the peculiar sound called dabh is produced only by the panting, snorting horses, and the following verses also in which mention has been made of striking sparks and raiding a settlement early at dawn and raising clouds of dust, apply only to the horses, most scholars are of the opinion that horses are meant. Ibn Jarir says: Of the two views this view is preferable that by “those who run” horses are implied, for the camel does not breathe hard in running, it is the horse which does so, and Allah has said: By those runners which pant and breathe hard in running. Imam Razi says: The words of these verses proclaim that horses are meant, for the sound of dabh (panting breath) is only produced by the horses, and the act of striking sparks of fire with the hoofs too is associated with the horses, and, likewise, mounting of a raid early at dawn is easier by means of the horses than by other animals.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Allah swears by the horses when they are made to gallop into battle in His path (i.e., Jihad), and thus they run and pant, which is the sound that is heard from the horse when it runs.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Since the subsequent clauses refer to a parabolic, imaginary situation, the adjurative particle wa " وَ  "is more suitably rendered here as "Oh", instead of the rendering "Consider" usually adopted by me, or the adjuration "By" appearing in most other translations.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The substantive proposition is in verses 6-8 below, and the metaphors enforcing the lesson are in verses 1-5 here. They have at least three layers of meaning: (1) Look at the chargers (mares or swift camels) panting for war on behalf of their masters. Off they go, striking fire with their hoofs by night at the behest of their riders; they push home the charge in the miming, chivalrously giving the enemy the benefit of daylight; and regardless of flashing steel or the weapons of their enemies they boldly penetrate into the midst of their foe, risking their lives for the Cause. Does unregenerate man show that fidelity to his Lord Allah? On the contrary he is ungrateful to Allah; he shows that by his deeds; he is violently in love with wealth and gain and things that perish. (2) By the figure of metonymy the brave fidelity of the war-horse may stand for that of the brave men and true who rally to the standard of Allah and carry it to victory, contrasted with the poltroonery (cowardice) and pettiness of unregenerate man. (3) The whole conflict, fighting, and victory, may be applied to spiritual warfare against those who are caught and overwhelmed in the camp of Evil.

 فَالْمُورِيَاتِ قَدْحًا 
( 2 )   And the producers of sparks [when] striking

Strike sparks: indicates that the horses run in the dead of night, for the sparks struck by their hoofs become conspicuous only at night.
 فَالْمُغِيرَاتِ صُبْحًا 
( 3 )   And the chargers at dawn,

The practice among the Arabs was that when they had to mount a raid on a settlement, they marched out in the night so as to take the enemy by surprise; then they would launch a sudden attack early in the morning so that everything became visible in the light of day, and at the same time it did not become so bright that the victim could notice their movement from a distance and be ready to meet the offensive.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
meaning, the raid that is carried out in the early morning time. This is just as the Messenger of Allah used to perform raids in the early morning. He would wait to see if he heard the Adhan (call to prayer) from the people. If he heard it he would leave them alone, and if he didn't hear it he would attack.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
We may suppose a surprise attack, but yet a chivalrous attack by daylight. The foe is punished through his own lethargy and unpreparedness, apart from the strength, fire, and spirit of the forces of righteousness.

 فَأَثَرْنَ بِهِ نَقْعًا 
( 4 )   Stirring up thereby [clouds of] dust,
 فَوَسَطْنَ بِهِ جَمْعًا 
( 5 )   Arriving thereby in the center collectively,

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
I.e., blinded by clouds of dust and not knowing whether their assault aims at friend or foe. The metaphoric image developed in the above five verses is closely connected with the sequence, although this connection has never been brought out by the classical commentators. The term al-'adiyat undoubtedly denotes the war-horses, or chargers, employed by the Arabs from time immemorial down to the Middle Ages (the feminine gender of this term being due to the fact that, as a rule, they preferred mares to stallions). But whereas the conventional explanation is based on the assumption that "the chargers" symbolize here the believers' fight in God's cause (jihad) and, therefore, represent something highly commendable, it takes no account whatever of the discrepancy between so positive an imagery and the condemnation expressed in verses {6} ff., not to speak of the fact that such a conventional interpretation does not provide any logical link between the two parts of the surah. But since such a link must exist, and since verses {6-11} are undoubtedly condemnatory, we must conclude that the first five verses, too, have the same - or, at least, a similar - character. This character becomes at once obvious if we dissociate ourselves from the preconceived notion that the imagery of "the chargers" is used here in a laudatory sense. In fact, the opposite is the case. Beyond any doubt, "the chargers" symbolize the erring human soul or self - a soul devoid of all spiritual direction, obsessed and ridden by all manner of wrong, selfish desires, madly, unseeingly rushing onward, unchecked by conscience or reason, blinded by the dust-clouds of confused and confusing appetites, storming into insoluble situations and, thus, into its own spiritual destruction.

 إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لِرَبِّهِ لَكَنُودٌ 
( 6 )   Indeed mankind, to his Lord, is ungrateful.

This is for which an oath has been sworn by the horses, which run with panting breath and dash off sparks at night, then raising dust rush to assault a settlement at dawn and penetrate into the enemy host. It is astonishing to note that a large number of the commentators have taken these horses to imply the horses of the Muslim fighters and the enemy host to imply the host of disbelievers, whereas the oath has been sworn to impress the point that man is highly ungrateful to his Lord. Now, obviously, in the course of Jihad for the sake of Allah, the rushing forth of the fighters’ horses and their assaulting a host of disbelievers all of a sudden, does not at all support the point that man is ungrateful to his Lord, nor the following sentences, viz. man himself is a witness to it, and he loves the worldly wealth with all his heart, apply to the people who go out to fight in the cause of Allah. Therefore, one will have to admit that the oaths sworn in the first five verses of this Surah, refer, in fact, to the general bloodshed, looting and plunder prevalent in Arabia at that time. In the pre-Islamic days of ignorance the night was a very dreadful thing: in it the people of every tribe and settlement apprehended the danger of a sudden attack by some unknown enemy, and when the light of day appeared they would heave a sigh of relief that the night had passed in peace. The tribes did not fight only retaliatory wars but different tribes also raided others in order to deprive them of their worldly goods and herds and to capture their women and children to be made slaves. This kind of tyranny and plunder was carried out mostly by means of the horses, which Allah is presenting here as an argument for the fact that man is ungrateful to his Lord. That is the powers which man is employing for fighting, shedding blood and plundering had not been given him by God for this purpose. Therefore this indeed is sheer ingratitude that the resources granted by Allah and the power given by Him should be used for causing chaos and corruption to spread in the earth, which Allah abhors.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
This is the subject what is being sworn about, and it means that he (man) is ungrateful for the favors of His Lord and he rejects them. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Abu Al-Jawza', Abu Al-`Aliyah, Abu Ad-Duha, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Muhammad bin Qays, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Ibn Zayd all said, "Al-Kanud means ungrateful.'' Al-Hasan said, "Al-Kanud is the one who counts the calamities (that befall him) and he forgets Allah's favors.''

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
I.e., whenever he surrenders to his appetites, symbolized by the madly storming chargers, he forgets God and his own responsibility to Him.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Man, i.e., unregenerate man, in contrast to those who receive guidance and wage unceasing war with Evil, is ungrateful to his Lord and Cherisher, Him Who created him and sustains him, and sends His blessings and favours at all times. The ingratitude may be shown by thoughts, words, and deeds,-by forgetting or denying Allah and His goodness, by misusing His gifts, or by injustice to His creatures.

 وَإِنَّهُ عَلَىٰ ذَٰلِكَ لَشَهِيدٌ 
( 7 )   And indeed, he is to that a witness.

That is his own conscience and his own deeds are a witness to it; then there are many disbelievers also who by their own tongue express their ingratitude openly, for they do not even believe that God exists to say nothing of acknowledging His blessings for which they may have to render gratitude to Him.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Qatadah and Sufyan Ath-Thawri both said, "And indeed Allah is a witness to that.'' It is also possible that the pronoun (He) could be referring to man. This was said by Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi. Thus, its meaning would be that man is a witness himself to the fact that he is ungrateful. This is obvious in his condition, meaning this is apparent from his statements and deeds. 

This is as Allah says, " ا كَانَ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يَعْمُرُواْ مَسَاجِدَ الله شَـهِدِينَ عَلَى أَنفُسِهِم بِالْكُفْرِ "

(It is not for the idolaters, to maintain the Masajid of Allah, while they witness disbelief against themselves.) (9:17) 

 وَإِنَّهُ لِحُبِّ الْخَيْرِ لَشَدِيدٌ 
( 8 )   And indeed he is, in love of wealth, intense.

Literally He is most ardent in the love of khair. But the word khair is not only used for goodness and virtue in Arabic but also for worldly wealth. In ( Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 180), khair has been used in the meaning of worldly wealth. The context itself shows where khair has been used in the sense of goodness and where in that of worldly goods. The context of this verse clearly shows that here khair means worldly wealth and not virtue and goodness. For about the man who is ungrateful to his Lord and who by his conduct is himself testifying to his ingratitude it cannot be said that he is very ardent in the love of goodness and virtue.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
What an evil choice he makes in committing treason against his own Benefactor by going after the petty baubles of this world's wealth of fleeting gains?

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
meaning, and indeed in his love of the good, which is wealth, he is severe. There are two opinions concerning this. One of them is that it means that he is severe. There are two opinions concerning this. One of them is that it means that he is severe in his love of wealth. The other view is that it means he is covetous and stingy due to the love of wealth. However, both views are correct.

Then Allah encourages abstinence from worldly things and striving for the Hereafter, and He informs of what the situation will be after this present condition, and what man will face of horrors. Allah says,

أَفَلَا يَعْلَمُ إِذَا بُعْثِرَ مَا فِي الْقُبُورِ 
( 9 )   But does he not know that when the contents of the graves are scattered

That is, the dead men will be raised back as living men from whatever state and wherever they would be lying buried in the earth.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Dead bodies, secret plots, evil thoughts and imaginings, long since buried, will yet stand forth before the Judgment-seat of Allah. Instead of being closely hidden or blotted out-as they will have been from the consciousness of mankind,-they will stand out as from the consciousness of Allah, which is all-embracing and never suffers from sleep or fatigue.

 وَحُصِّلَ مَا فِي الصُّدُورِ 
( 10 )   And that within the breasts is obtained,

That is all the intentions, aims and objects, ideas and thoughts and the motives behind acts and deeds that lie hidden in the hearts will be exposed and examined in order to sort out the good from the evil. In other words judgment will not be passed only on the apparent and superficial as to what a man practically did but the secrets hidden in the hearts will also be brought out to see what were the intentions and motives under which a man did what he did. If man only considers this, he cannot help admitting that real and complete justice cannot be done anywhere except in the court of God. Secular laws of the world also admit in principle that a person should not be punished merely on the basis of his apparent act but his motive for so acting also should be seen and examined. But no court of the world has the means by which it may accurately ascertain the motive and intention. This can be done only by God: He alone can examine the underlying motives behind every apparent act of man as well as take the decision as to what reward or punishment he deserves. Then, as is evident from the words of the verse, this judgment will not be passed merely on the basis of the knowledge which Allah already has about the intentions and motives of the hearts, but on Resurrection Day these secrets will be exposed and brought out openly before the people and after a thorough scrutiny in the court it will be shown what was the good in it and what was the evil. That is why the words hussila ma fissudur have been used. Tahsil means to bring out something in the open, and to sort out different things from one another. Thus, the use of tahsil concerning hidden secrets of the hearts contains both the meanings: to expose them and to sort out the good from the evil. This same theme has been expressed in Surah At-Tariq, thus: The Day the hidden secrets are held to scrutiny. (verse 9).

 إِنَّ رَبَّهُم بِهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّخَبِيرٌ 
( 11 )   Indeed, their Lord with them, that Day, is [fully] Acquainted.

That is, He will be knowing well who is who, and what punishment or reward he deserves.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
meaning, He knows all of that they used to do, and He will compensate them for it with the most deserving reward. He does not do even the slightest amount of injustice. 

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Allah's knowledge is full and vigilant at all times. But on that day it will reveal to men secrets which they had long forgotten, for the Book of their Deeds will be made manifest at Judgment.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sürah Al ‘Adiyat  with English subtitles:

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

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 67 | 8 | 9 |  10 | 11 |
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

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

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