Showing posts with label Surah Al Infitar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Surah Al Infitar. Show all posts

Saturday 14 November 2020

Surah Al Infitar - The Cleaving: Exegesis 82nd Chapter of Quran

Sūrah Al-Infiṭār " الانفطار " is the eighty second sürah with 19 āyāt, part of the 30th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'ān. The title of the sūrah is derived from the word in fatarat  " انفَطَرَتْ " in the first verse. Infitar is an infinitive which means to cleave or split asunder, thereby implying that it is the Surah in which the splitting asunder of the sky has been mentioned. 

This Sūrah and the Sūrah 81. At-Takwir " التكوير " closely resemble each other in their subject matter. This shows that both were sent down in about the same Meccan period. The sūrah paints the description of What will happen on the day of judgement and Guardian angels are recording all actions and Allah Himself will be the Judge.

In subject-matter this Sūrah is cognate to the last, though the best authorities consider it a good deal later in chronology in the early Makkan Period. Its argument is subject to the threefold interpretation mentioned in  lxxxi. 13, viz., as referring (1) to the final Day of Judgment, (2) to the Lesser judgement, on an individual's death, and (3) to the awakening of the Inner Light in the soul at any time, that being considered as Death to the Falsities of this life and a Re-birth to the true spiritual Reality.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is quoted to have been said, “The one who wants that he should see the Resurrection Day as one would see it with one’s eyes, should read Surah at-Takweer, Surah al-Infitar and Surah al-Inshiqaq.” (Musnad Ahma, at-Tirmidhi, ibn al-Mundhir, Tabarani, Hakim) [7]
We have already presented the overview / summary of the sürah. Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. You may also listen to tafsir of the surah by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan at the end of the post:

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

The Surah begins with a description of the upheaval of the Day of Judgment. It mentions the cleaving of the sky, the scattering of the stars, the bursting of the oceans and the hurling of the graves as simultaneous with every soul’s knowledge of its earlier and later actions, on that momentous day.

In the first three ayaat Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala describes the first stage of the Resurrection, “the sky will break apart, the stars will fall, scattered and the seas will erupt.” Then people will be brought out of their graves.

إِذَا السَّمَاءُ انفَطَرَتْ 
( 1 )   When the sky breaks apart
In Surah 81. At-Takwir it has been said: When the oceans are set ablaze, and here: When the oceans are torn apart. When the two verses are read together, and this fact is also kept in view that even according to the Quran a terrible earthquake will occur on the Resurrection Day, which will shake up the entire earth all at once, the state of the splitting of the oceans and their being set ablaze, seems to be as follows: first, because of the terrible convulsion, the bottom of the oceans will split asunder and their water will start sinking into the interior of the earth where an intensely hot lava is constantly boiling up. Coming into contact with the lava, water will dissolve into its two constituent parts, oxygen which helps combustion, and hydrogen, which is itself combustible. Thus, in the process of dissolution and combustion, a chain reaction will start, which will set all the oceans of the world ablaze. This is our conjecture, the correct knowledge is only with Allah.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. the passage lxxxi. 1-14 and explanation. For the three parallel interpretations, see the Introduction to the Surah. There are four conditional clauses here, and the substantive clause is in verse 5. In S. lxxxi, there were 12 conditional clauses, and the conclusion was, similar, but not expressed in precisely the same terms. See lxxxii. 5. below. The physical world as we see it now will be destroyed before the final Day of Judgment, establishing the true Reality. In the following four clauses we have a reference to the Lesser Judgment, the individual dawn of the true Reality at Death. 

Cf. lxxiii. 18. The beautiful blue sky overhead, which we take for granted in sunshine and storm, will be shattered to pieces before the New World is established. The partition which seems at present to divide things divine from this phenomenal world has to be shattered before each soul knows the reality about itself.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
An allusion to the Last Hour, when the world as known to man will come to an end and the ultimate reality of the hereafter will begin.

Nouman Ali Khan Explanation:
Dominant Themes in this surah - the following violent descriptions are focused on; Ripping, tearing, motion, rattling. They are all connected to each other. The surah begins with: (When the sky / heaven is split open) - Ishaa - means of calling attention. When (future tense). Also means; all of a sudden.  

1) Idhaa means of calling attention. When (future tense). Also means; all of a sudden.
2) Infitar - tafatara, anfatara, fatara, faatir as-samawati wal ard.to tear something - along its length. Hal taraa min futoor [mulk] - do you see any tears in it. The sky being heavily damaged with tear across it in the sky.

The sky is like a tent over us. The Qur'an is not speaking to us in scientific explanations, but through human experience - what the eye sees. So if we stay true to the language and how the Arabs would communicate to each other - then we may be closer to the intended meaning of the Qur'ans understanding. Now imagine this canopy/tent has a lot of lights/lamps on the top - if the tent is pulled - the lights fall off.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
When the cataclysm of the Day of Judgement arrives, this sky which appears so strong will have fissures all over it. What will it look like? 

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: The exact shape and form of this destruction cannot be imagined; however, a reminder of this day is sounded so that the rich and the arrogant who are today living without any fear of this day by relying on the strength of their castles and buildings are cautioned and prodded; they are warned that such a great upheaval will take place on that day that the roof of this whole world will be shattered and cavities will appear all over it what to speak of man-made structures. This roof which appears strong, flawless and resilient to them will be ruptured on that day. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 239)

 وَإِذَا الْكَوَاكِبُ انتَثَرَتْ 
( 2 )   And when the stars fall, scattering,

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. lxxxi. 2, where the word for "stars" (Nujum) is different, and the verb is different. Najm has reference to brightness, and the verb 'losing their luster" was appropriate there, to show the opposite, Kaukab (used here) has more the meaning of a star as fixed in a constellation; and the opposite of a fixed and definite order is "scattered", the verb used here. In fact, throughout this passage, the dominating idea is the disturbance of order and symmetry. The metaphor behind the scattering of the constellations is that in the present order of things we see many things associated together, e.g., rank with honour, wealth with comfort, etc. In the New World this will be seen to have merely fortuitous.

 وَإِذَا الْبِحَارُ فُجِّرَتْ 
( 3 )   And when the seas are erupted

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, "Allah will cause some of it to burst forth over other parts of it.'' Al-Hasan said, "Allah will cause some parts of it to burst forth over other parts of it, and its water will go away.'' Qatadah said, "Its fresh water will mix with its salt water.''

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. lxxxi. 6, "when the oceans boil over with a swell". Here, "are suffered to burst forth" expresses the end of the present order of things. This may be in two ways, (1) The barrier which keeps within their respective bounds the various streams of salt and fresh water (lv. 20, n. 5185) will be removed; (2) the Ocean will overwhelm the whole Globe.

 وَإِذَا الْقُبُورُ بُعْثِرَتْ 
( 4 )   And when the [contents of] graves are scattered,
In the first three verses, the first stage of the Resurrection has been mentioned and in this verse the second stage is being described. Opening of the graves implies resurrection of the dead.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Ibn `Abbas said, "searched.'' As-Suddi said, "Tub`athiru means that they will be moved and those who are in them will come out.''

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
This item is not mentioned in lxxxi. 1-14. Here it is introduced to show that the whole order of things will be so reversed that even Death will not be Death. We think there is tranquility in Death: but there will be no tranquility. Literally, and figuratively, Death will be the beginning of a new Life. What we think to be Death will bring forth Life.

 عَلِمَتْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ وَأَخَّرَتْ 
( 5 )   A soul will [then] know what it has put forth and kept back.
The words ma qaddamat wa akhkharat " مَّا قَدَّمَتْ وَأَخَّرَتْ " can have several meanings and all are implied here:

(1) Ma qaddamat " مَّا قَدَّمَتْ " is the good or evil act which man has sent forward, and ma akhkharat          " وَأَخَّرَتْ "is what he refrained from doing. Thus, these Arabic words correspond to the acts of commission and omission in one’s life.

(2) Ma qaddamat is what one did earlier and ma akhkharat what one did later; i.e. the whole life-work of man will appear before him date-wise and in proper sequence.

(3) Whatever good and evil deeds a man did in his life is ma qaddamat and whatever effects and influences of his acts he left behind for human society is ma akhkharat.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Sent Forward and kept back: may mean: the deeds of commission and omission in this life. Or the Arabic words may also be translated: sent forward and left behind: i.e., the spiritual possibilities which it sent forward for its other life, and the physical things on which it prided itself in this life, but which it had to leave behind in this fife. Or else, the things it put first and the things it put last in importance may change places in the new world of Reality. "The first shall be last and the last shall be first".

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
I.e., what he has done and what he has omitted to do. An alternative rendering would be, "what he has placed forward and what he has placed behind", i.e., what he prized more and what less in his erstwhile, subjective valuation. Thus, at the moment of resurrection man will suddenly understand the true motivations and moral implications of whatever he did - or consciously refrained from doing - during his life in this world: and this applies to all the good deeds he did and the sins he refrained from, as well as to all the sins he committed and the good deeds he failed to do.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
Each soul will come face to face with what it has done and what it has left behind of the consequences of its actions; or, what it has enjoyed in this present life and what it has saved for the Hereafter. Such knowledge, however, will accompany these horrific events. It will indeed be part of them, for it terrifies the soul no less than any of the other events.

The second part starts with a disapproval combined with an implicit threat to man who is the recipient of abundant grace but who shows no gratitude for it, “O mankind, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Generous,” [82: 6].

After an opening which alerts one’s senses, the Surah, by means of gentle complaint coupled with an implicit threat, touches the hearts of men who busy themselves with trivialities. What makes you neglect your duties to your Lord and behave impudently towards Him when He has raised you above all His creation and provided you the ability to distinguish between right and wrong?

يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنسَانُ مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ الْكَرِيمِ 
( 6 )   O mankind, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Generous,

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
This is a threat. It is not an attempt to get a reply as some people mistakenly think. They consider it as if the Most Generous is asking them so that they will say, "His honor deceived him (or made him careless of his Lord).'' rather the meaning of this Ayah is, "O Son of Adam! What has deceived you from your Lord, the Most Generous -- meaning the Most Great -- so that you went forth disobeying Him, and you met Him with that which was unbefitting.'' 

This is similar to what has been reported in the Hadith, (Allah will say on the Day of Judgement: "O Son of Adam! What has deceived you concerning Me O Son of Adam What was your response to the Messengers'') Al-Baghawi mentioned that Al-Kalbi and Muqatil said, "This Ayah was revealed about Al-Aswad bin Shariq who struck the Prophet and he was not punished in retaliation. 

So Allah revealed, (What has made you careless about your Lord, the Most Generous)''

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
A rhetorical question implying that no human being is ever entirely immune against "that temptation to evil (fitnah) which does not befall only those among you who are bent on denying the truth" (see 8:25 and the corresponding note [25]). The answer is given in verse {9} below.

Read more about the attribute Al-Karim (الكريم) - The Generous, The Bountiful  mentioned in this verse.

The Surah goes on to add a few details of Allah’s generosity: His giving man an upright stature. Indeed, man should reflect deeply over his creation, and the fact that he has been given a physically and physiologically perfect constitution. Reflection should prompt him to show his real love, deep respect and genuine gratitude towards Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, his gracious Lord, who has blessed him with such constitution. The human body is composed of a number of specialized systems: the skeleton, muscular system, skin, digestive system, blood circulation, respiratory system, procreative system, lymphatic system, nervous system, the urinal system and the senses of taste, smell, hearing and sight. Every one of these systems is miraculous and far more wonderful than any scientific achievement. Yet man tends to overlook the wonders of his own constitution!

 الَّذِي خَلَقَكَ فَسَوَّاكَ فَعَدَلَكَ 
( 7 )   Who created you, proportioned you, and balanced you?

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
`He made you complete, straight, and perfectly balanced and proportioned in stature. He fashioned you in the best of forms and shapes.' 

Imam Ahmad recorded from Busr bin Jahhash Al-Qurashi that one day the Messenger of Allah spat in his palm and placed his finger on it. Then he said, (Allah the Mighty and Sublime says: "O Son of Adam! How can you escape Me when I created you from something similar to this (spit) Then I fashioned you and made your creation balanced so that you walked between the two outer garments. And the earth has a burial place for you. So you gathered (wealth) and withheld it until your soul reached your collarbone (i.e., death comes). Then, at that time you say, `I will give charity now.' But how will there be time for charity'') This Hadith has also been recorded by Ibn Majah.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. xv. 29. Allah not only created man, but fashioned him in due proportions, giving him extraordinary capacities, and the means wherewith he can fulfil his high destiny.

See vi. 1. Having given a limited free-will, He gave us a just bias through our reason and our spiritual faculties. If we err, it is our will that is at fault.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
I.e., "endowed thee with all the qualities and abilities relevant to the exigencies of thy individual life and thy environment".

Lit., "made thee proportionate", i.e., a being subject to physical needs and emotional urges, and at the same time endowed with intellectual and spiritual perceptions: in other words, a being in whom there is no inherent conflict between the demands of "the spirit and the flesh", since both these aspects of the human condition are - as stressed in the next verse - God-willed and, therefore, morally justified.

 فِي أَيِّ صُورَةٍ مَّا شَاءَ رَكَّبَكَ 
( 8 )   In whatever form He willed has He assembled you.
That is, in the first place, the bounty and favor of your Beneficent Sustainer required that you should have acknowledged his bounties and become an obedient servant and should have felt shy of disobeying Him, but you were deluded into thinking that you have become whatever you are by your own effort, and you never thought that you should acknowledge that favor of Him Who gave you life. Secondly, it is your Lord’s bounty and kindness that you can freely do whatever you like in the world and it never so happens that whenever you happen to commit an error, He should punish you with paralysis, or blind your eyes, or cause lightning to strike you. But you took His bountifulness for weakness and were beguiled into thinking that the kingdom of your God was devoid of justice.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Mujahid said, "In which resemblance: the father, the mother, the paternal uncle, or the maternal uncle.'' 

In the Two Sahihs it is recorded from Abu Hurayrah that a man said, "O Messenger of Allah! Verily, my wife has given birth to a black boy.'' The Prophet said, (Do you have any camels) The man said, "Yes.'' 

The Prophet then said, (What color are they) The man said, "Red.'' The Prophet said, (Do any of them have patches of gray) The man said, "Yes.''

The Prophet asked him, (How did this happen to them) The man replied, "It is probably an inherited genetical strain.'' The Prophet then said, (Likewise, this (with your son) is probably an inherited genetical strain.) The Cause of Deception and alerting to the Fact that Angels record the Deeds of the Children of Adam.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
By "Form" (Surat) here I understand the general shape of things in which any given personality is placed, including his physical and social environments, his gifts of mind and spirit, and all that goes to make up his outer and inner life. The Grace of Allah is shown in all these things, for His Will is formed from perfect knowledge, wisdom, and goodness.

Ayaat 9-19 – Concentrate on The Cause of Deception:

كَلَّا بَلْ تُكَذِّبُونَ بِالدِّينِ 
( 9 )   No! But you deny the Recompense.
That is, there is no reasonable ground for you to be deluded. Your own physical existence itself tells that you did not come into being by yourself; your parents also did not make you. Man also did not come about as a result of the elements combining together by themselves accidentally; but a Wise and Powerful God has composed you into this perfect human shape and form. There are other kinds of animals in the world compared with which your excellent form and structure and your superior powers and faculties stand out in sharp contrast. Reason demanded that in view of all this you should have submitted gratefully and should never have dared commit disobedience of your beneficent Sustainer. You also know that your Lord and Sustainer is not only Compassionate and Bountiful but Almighty and Omnipotent as well. When an earthquake, cyclone or flood occurs by His command, all your devices and measures fail to be effective. You also know that your Lord and Sustainer is not ignorant and foolish but Wise and Knowing, and the necessary demand of wisdom and knowledge is that whoever is given intellect should also be held responsible for his acts; whoever is given powers should also be held accountable as to how he used those powers; and whoever is given the choice to do good or evil on his own responsibility, should also be rewarded for his good act and punished for his evil act. All these truths are clearly and plainly known to you; therefore, you cannot say that there exists a reasonable ground for you to be deluded concerning your Lord. Your own nature is sufficient evidence that the beneficence of the Master should never cause the servant to be fearless of Him, and be involved in the misunderstanding that he may do whatever he pleases, no one can harm him in any way.

You have not been deluded and beguiled by any good reason but by your foolish concept that there is going to be no meting out of rewards and punishments after the life of this world. It is this wrong and baseless concept which has made you heedless of God, fearless of His justice and irresponsible in your moral attitude.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
meaning, `you are only compelled to oppose the Most Generous and meet Him with disobedience, by your rejection in your hearts of the Hereafter, the recompense and the reckoning.'

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The goodness and mercies of Allah, and His constant watchful care of all His creatures should make men grateful, instead of which they turn away from the Right and deny the Day of Sorting Out, the Day when every action performed here will find its fulfilment in just reward or punishment.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
In view of the fact that the whole of this passage is addressed to "man" or "men" in general, and not merely to deniers of the truth, I believe that the expression "you give the lie" does not, in this context, necessarily imply a conscious denial of God's ultimate judgment but, rather, a tendency inherent in most human beings to close one's mind - occasionally or permanently, as the ease may be - to the prospect of having to answer before God for one's doings: hence my rendering, "you are tempted to give the lie".

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi has elaborated on this concise statement as follows: 

Here, it should be kept in mind that at times a person wants to refute something but since he does not find any possibility for this, he starts raising irrelevant questions so that the door to doubt and distrust is opened. The disbelievers of the Quraysh found themselves in such a situation. They knew that denying reward and punishment would be denying something obvious; however, they did not want to accept and acknowledge it too. For this reason, they would invent baseless doubts and try to give the false impression that they had certain reasons on the basis of which they were rejecting the warnings of the Qur’an. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 243)

Hence they should not think that who can be aware of their open and secret affairs in order to hold them accountable for them.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
The Surah moves on to explain the reason for man’s impudence and negligence, “No! But you deny the Recompense,” [82: 9]. The Arabic word, kalla, [كَلاَّ] is a command to desist. You think that reckoning and accountability are falsehoods, and this is precisely the cause of your impudence and negligence of duties. How can any person disbelieve in the judgment and still lead a life based on goodness and right guidance? Some people may achieve a higher degree of faith: they worship Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala because they love Him, neither out of fear of punishment nor in hope of reward. But these people continue to believe in the Last Judgment. They fear it and look forward to it at the same time, because they hope to be with their beloved Lord. When man, however, flatly rejects the Day of Judgement his heart and conscience die.

 وَإِنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ لَحَافِظِينَ 
( 10 )   And indeed, [appointed] over you are keepers,

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(82:10-12) meaning, `indeed there are noble guardian angels over you, so do not meet them with evil deeds, because they write down all that you do.'

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Besides the faculties given to man to guide him, and the Form and Personality through which he can rise by stages to the Presence of Allah, there are spiritual agencies around him to help and protect him, and to note down his Record, so that perfect justice may be done to him at the end. For these Guardian Angels, see 1. 17-18.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
You deny the Day of Judgment when you will certainly face it. Everything you do in this life will be counted for or against you. Nothing is lost, nothing forgotten, “And indeed, [appointed] over you are keepers, noble and recording; they know whatever you do,” [82: 10-12]. These recorders are the angels charged with accompanying people, watching them and recording all what they do and say. We do not live in vain. There are noble recorders who note what we do, therefore, we need to be always alert and prudent.

 كِرَامًا كَاتِبِينَ 
( 11 )   Noble and recording;

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The actual word is: کِرَام. It alludes to the fact that these scribes are very dutiful and conscientious. Their vigilance never gives way to indolence or sluggishness nor do they melt under pressure from anyone to add something from their own.

God is aware of their words and deeds. It is further explained in Surah Qaf that these angels are two and guard a person from both right and left.

The third part provides the reason for man’s ungrateful attitude. Denial of reckoning and judgment, the Surah tells us, is the source of every evil. The reality of meting out reward and punishment at the Last Judgment is re-emphasized, “And indeed, [appointed] over you are keepers, noble and recording; they know whatever you do,” [82: 10-12]

 يَعْلَمُونَ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ 
( 12 )   They know whatever you do.
That is, whether you deny the meting out of rewards and punishments, belie it, or mock it, the reality cannot change. The reality is: that your Lord has not left you to your self in the world, but has appointed over each one of you honest and upright guardians, who are recording objectively and faithfully all your good and evil acts, and none of your acts is hidden from them, whether you commit it in darkness, or in private, or in far off jungles, or in secret when you are fully satisfied that whatever you have done has remained hidden from human eye. 

For these guardian angels Allah has used the words kiram-an katibin, i.e. writers who are honorable and noble They are neither attached in personal love with somebody, nor are inimical to anybody, so that they would prepare a fictitious record on the basis of their favoring one man and un-favoring another unduly. They are neither dishonest that without being present on duty they would make wrong entries by themselves; nor are they bribable so that they would take bribes and make false reports in favor of or against somebody. They are far above these moral weaknesses. Therefore, both the good and the bad people should be fully satisfied that each man’s good acts will be recorded without any omission, and no one will have an evil act recorded in his account which he has not done. Then the second quality that has been mentioned of these angels is: They know whatever you do. That is, they are not like the secret, intelligence agencies of the world, from which, despite all their search and scrutiny, many things remain hidden. They are fully aware of everyone's deeds. They accompany every person, at all places, under all conditions, in such a way that he himself does not know that someone is watching him, and they also know with what intention has somebody done a certain thing. Therefore the record prepared by them is a complete record in which nothing has been left un-recorded. About this very thing it has been said in (Surah Al-Kahf, Ayat 49): Woe to us! What sort of a book it is, it has left nothing unrecorded of our doings, small or great. They will see before them everything, whatever they had done.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
The classical commentators are of the opinion that we have here a reference to the guardian angels who record, allegorically, all of men's deeds. However. another explanation has been suggested by me in my rendering of {50:16-23} and elaborated in the corresponding notes [11-16]. In consonance with that interpretation, the "watchful force" (hafiz) set over every human being is his own conscience, which "records" all his motives and actions in his subconscious mind. Since it is the most precious element in man's psyche, it is described in verse {11} as "noble".

إِنَّ الْأَبْرَارَ لَفِي نَعِيمٍ 
( 13 )   Indeed, the righteous will be in pleasure,

 وَإِنَّ الْفُجَّارَ لَفِي جَحِيمٍ 
( 14 )   And indeed, the wicked will be in Hellfire.

 يَصْلَوْنَهَا يَوْمَ الدِّينِ 
( 15 )   They will [enter to] burn therein on the Day of Recompense,

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
The Reward of the Righteous &the Sinners Allah informs of what the righteous will receive of delight: They are those who obeyed Allah and did not meet Him with disobedience (sins). Then He mentions that the evildoers will be in Hell and eternal torment. 

Due to this He says, (Therein they will enter, and taste its burning flame on the Day of Recompense,) meaning, the Day of Reckoning, Recompense, and Judgement.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
I understand this relative clause to govern "the Fire", i.e., the Punishment. It will be postponed as long as possible, to give the Sinner every chance of repentance and amendment. But once the period of probation is past, it will be irrevocable. There will be no going back from it. By inference, the Righteous may individually reach some stage of Bliss at once, possibly in this life, possibly after death, though the Final Judgment will be the general and complete cessation of this fleeting world and the creation of the world of Eternity.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
The contrasting quality, ‘wickedness’, carries connotations of insolence and impudence as the wicked indulge in sinful actions. Hell is a proper recompense for wickedness. The Surah emphasizes the certainty of this punishment: “They will [enter to] burn therein on the Day of Recompense, and never therefrom will they be absent,” [82: 15-16]. They cannot escape it in the first place, nor will they be allowed to leave it, not even for a short while.

 وَمَا هُمْ عَنْهَا بِغَائِبِينَ 
( 16 )   And never therefrom will they be absent.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
They will not be absent for even one hour from the torment. The torment will not be lightened from them, nor will they be granted the death that they will be requesting, or any rest -- not even for a single day.

The final part gives an idea of how fearful the Day of Judgment is, how everyone is absolutely helpless and how all power belongs to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ 
( 17 )   And what can make you know what is the Day of Recompense?

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
This is a magnification of the affair of the Day of Judgement. 

Then Allah affirms it by saying, (Again, what will make you know what the Day of Recompense is - verse 18 below)

 ثُمَّ مَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ 
( 18 )   Then, what can make you know what is the Day of Recompense?

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
We can speak of Rewards and Punishments, the Fruits of Actions, the Resurrection and the Tribunal, the Restoration of True Values, the Elimination of all Wrong, and a hundred other phrases. They might serve to introduce our minds vaguely to a new World, of which they cannot possibly form any adequate conception under present conditions. The question is repeated in verses 17-18 to emphasize this difficulty, and a simple answer is suggested, as explained in the next note.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
For my rendering of thumma " ثُمَّ " at the beginning of this verse as "And once again",  The repetition of this rhetorical question is meant to indicate that man's intellect and imagination cannot possibly answer it, since what is described as the Day of Judgment will usher in a reality which as yet is wholly outside our human experience and, therefore, cannot be grasped conceptually: hence, only allegory - and our own emotional response to it - can give us an inkling of what that reality might be.

 يَوْمَ لَا تَمْلِكُ نَفْسٌ لِّنَفْسٍ شَيْئًا ۖ وَالْأَمْرُ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلَّـهِ 
( 19 )   It is the Day when a soul will not possess for another soul [power to do] a thing; and the command, that Day, is [entirely] with Allah.
That is, no one there will have the power to save anyone from suffering the consequences of his deeds; no one there will be so influential, strong, or such a favorite with Allah that he should behave stubbornly in the divine court and say: Such and such a one is a close relative or associate of mine; he will have to be forgiven, no matter what evils He might have committed in the world.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
No one will be able to benefit anyone else, or help him out of that which he will be in, unless Allah gives permission to whomever He wishes and is pleased with. 

We will mention here a Hadith (where the Prophet said), (O children of Hashim! Save yourselves from the Fire, for I have no power to cause you any benefit from Allah.) This has been mentioned previously at the end of the Tafsir of Surat Ash-Shu`ara' (see 26:214).

Thus, Allah says, (and the Decision, that Day, will be with Allah.) "By Allah, the Decision is for Allah today (now), but on that Day no one will try to dispute with Him about it.'' This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Infitar. All praise and blessings are due to Allah, and He is the Giver of success and freedom from error.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The answer is suggested by a negative proposition: 'No soul shall have power to do aught for another'. This is full of meaning. Personal responsibility will be fully enforced. In this world we all depend on one another proximately, though our ultimate dependence is always on Allah, now and for ever. But here a father helps a son forward; husband and wife influence each other's destinies; human laws and institutions may hold large masses of mankind under their grip; falsehood and evil may seem to flourish for a time, because a certain amount of limited free-will has been granted to man. This period will be all over then. The good and the pure will have been separated from the evil and the rebellious; the latter will have been rendered inert, and the former will have been so perfected that their wills will be in complete consonance with Allah's Universal Will. The Command, thence forward, will be wholly with Allah.

Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle Explanation:
Having stated what happens on the Day of Judgment, the Surah emphasizes again the certainty of that day, since it is denied by some. It then states the complete helplessness of everyone, the absolute impossibility of giving or receiving support and that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is the absolute sovereign on that Day, “It is the Day when a soul will not possess for another soul [power to do] a thing; and the command, that Day, is [entirely] with Allah,” [82: 19].

It is a state of total helplessness when everyone stands alone, busy with their own problems, unable to think of anyone else, relative or friend. Only Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reigns supreme in this life and the next. This fact, however, becomes so clear on that Day that no one can overlook it, as the ignorant and the conceited do in this life.

The Surah closes with an air of fear and speechless expectation in contrasts to its violent and horrific beginning.

You may now like to listen to Muslim scholar, exegete and linguist Nouman Ali Khan explaining the surah in detail:

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

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

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

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