Showing posts with label Surah At-Takathur. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Surah At-Takathur. Show all posts

Monday 31 August 2020

Surah At-Takathur - Rivalry In Worldly Increase: Exegesis 102nd Chapter of Quran

Sürah At-Takāthur " التكاثر  " - Rivalry In Worldly Increase is the 102nd surah with 8 ayahs, part of the 29th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. It is an earlier "Meccan surah" which takes it title from its very first verse.

When Allah concluded the matter of the hour of al Qari'ah, He mentioned a group of people who will enter in the fire. This surah will discuss such people.So He started this surah to tell the reasons why they fell into the hellfire.

In this Sürah the people have been warned of the evil consequences of world worship because of which they spend their lives in acquiring more and more of worldly wealth, material benefits and pleasures, and position and power, till death, and in vying with one another and bragging and boasting about their acquisitions. This one pursuit has so occupied them that they are left with no time or opportunity for pursuing the higher things in life. After warning the people of its evil end they have been told us if to say: "These blessings which you are amassing and enjoying thoughtlessly, are not mere blessings but are also a means of your trial. For each one of these blessings and comforts you will surely be called to account in the Hereafter."

We have already given out the summary of the Sürah At-Takāthur. 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"

Ibn Kathir notes that Allah says that all are preoccupied by love of the world, its delights and its adornments, and this distracts you from seeking the Hereafter and desiring it. This delays you until death comes to you and you visit the graves, thus becoming its inhabitants. In Sahih Al-Bukhari, it is recorded in the Book of Ar-Riqaq (Narrations that soften the Heart) from Anas bin Malik, who reported that Ubayy bin Ka`b said, "We used to think that this was a part of the Qur'an until the Ayah was revealed which says;

اَلۡهٰٮكُمُ التَّكَاثُرُۙ‏ 
(102:1) Competition in [worldly] increase diverts you

The words alhakum at-takathur  " اَلۡهٰٮكُمُ التَّكَاثُرُۙ‏ "   of the original are too vast in meaning to be fully explained in a passage. 

Alhakum " اَلۡهٰٮكُمُ is from lahv which originally means heedlessness, but in Arabic this word is used for every occupation which engrosses man so completely that he becomes heedless of the more important things in life. When the word alhakum is made from this root, it will mean that man has become so obsessed with some occupation that he has lost sight of everything more important than it. He is preoccupied with it, is wholly lost in pursuit of it and this obsession has rendered him heedless of everything else in life. 

Takathur "  التَّكَاثُرُۙ‏ "  is from kathrat, which has three meanings:

(1) That man should strive to gain more and more of everything.

(2) That the people should vie with one another for gaining more and more.

(3) That they should brag and boast of possessing greater abundance of things than others.

Therefore, alhakum at-takathur would mean: Takathur (greed for more and more) has so occupied you that its pursuit has made you heedless of every higher thing in life. In this sentence it has not been indicated as to abundance of what is meant in takathur, heedlessness of what is implied in alhakum, and who are the addressees of alhakum. In the absence of such an explanation, the words become applicable in their most general and extensive meaning. Thus, takathur does not remain restricted in meaning and application but applies to all the gains and benefits, pleasures and comforts, the passion for acquiring more and more means of power and authority, vying with others in pursuit of these and bragging and boasting of their abundance. Likewise, the addressees of alhakum also do not remain limited but the people of all ages, in their individual as well as collective capacity, become its addressees. It gives the meaning that the passion for acquiring more and more of the worldly wealth, vying with others in pursuit of it and bragging and boasting of its possession has affected individuals as well as societies. 

Likewise, since in alhakum at-takathur it has not been pointed out as to which people are engrossed in acquisitiveness and of what they are rendered heedless, it has also become very extensive in meaning. It means that the passion for piling up more and more has made the people heedless of everything more important than it. They have become heedless of God, of the Hereafter, of the moral bounds and moral responsibilities, of the rights of others and of their own obligations to render those rights. They are only after raising the standard of living and do not bother even if the standard of humanity be falling. They want to acquire more and more of wealth no matter how and by what means it is acquired. They desire to have more and more means of comfort and physical enjoyment and, overwhelmed by this greed, they have become wholly insensitive as to the ultimate end of this way of living. They are engaged in a race with others to acquire more and more of power, more and more of forces, more and more of weapons, and they have no idea that all this is a means of filling God’s earth with tyranny and wickedness and of destroying humanity itself. 

In short, takathur has many forms, which have engrossed individuals as well as societies so completely that they have become heedless of everything beyond the world, its benefits and pleasures.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Acquisitiveness, that is, the passion for seeking an increase in wealth, position, the number of adherents or followers or supporters, mass production and mass organisation, may affect an individual as such, or it may affect whole societies or nations. Other people's example or rivalry in such things may aggravate the situation. Up to a certain point it may be good and necessary. But when it becomes inordinate and monopolies attention, it leaves no time for higher things in life, and a clear warning is here sounded from a moral point of view. Man may be engrossed in these things till death approaches, and he looks back on a wasted life, as far as the higher things are concerned.

حَتّٰى زُرۡتُمُ الۡمَقَابِرَؕ‏ 
(102:2) until you reach your graves.

That is, you spend your whole life in the same craze and endeavor, until the time comes when you must die and leave the world.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
That is, until the time comes when you must lie down in the graves and leave and pomp and circumstance of an empty life. The true Reality will then appear before you. Why not try to strive for a little understanding of that Reality in this very life?

كَلَّا سَوۡفَ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَۙ‏ 
(102:3) Nay, you will soon come to know;

That is, you are under the delusion that the abundance of the worldly goods and surpassing others in it is real progress and success, whereas the opposite is the case. Soon you will know its evil end and you will realize that it was a stupendous error in which you remained involved throughout your life. Soon may mean the Hereafter. That is, for the Being Whose sight comprehends all ages, from eternity to eternity, a few thousand years or a few hundred thousand years can only be a short span of the eternal time. Soon it can also mean death, for death is not very far away from any man, and soon after death man will come to know whether the occupations which engaged him throughout life were a means of good fortune and success for him, or of misfortune and failure.

ثُمَّ كَلَّا سَوۡفَ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَؕ‏ 
(102:4) again, nay, you shall soon come to know.

كَلَّا لَوۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ عِلۡمَ الۡيَقِيۡنِؕ‏ 
(102:5) Nay, would that you knew with certainty of knowledge (what your attitude will lead to, you would never have acted the way you do).

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Three kinds of yaqin (certainty of knowledge): The first is certainty of mind or inference mentioned here: we hear from someone, or we infer from something we know: this refers to our own state of mind. If we instruct our minds in this way, we should value the deeper things of life better, and not waste all our time in ephemeral things. But if we do not use our reasoning faculties now, we shall yet see with our own eyes, the Penalty for our sins. It will be certainty of sight. We shall see Hell. See next verse. But the absolute certainty of assured Truth is that described in lxix. 51. That is not liable to any human error or psychological defects.

لَتَرَوُنَّ الۡجَحِيۡمَۙ‏ 
(102:6) You will surely end up seeing Hell;

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Sc., "in which you find yourselves now" - i.e., the "hell on earth" brought about by a fundamentally wrong mode of life: an allusion to the gradual destruction of man's natural environment, as well as to the frustration, unhappiness and confusion which an overriding, unrestrained pursuit of "economic growth" is bound to bring - and has, indeed, brought in our time - upon a mankind that is about to lose the remnants of all spiritual, religious orientation.

ثُمَّ لَتَرَوُنَّهَا عَيۡنَ الۡيَقِيۡنِۙ‏ 
(102:7) Then you will surely see it with the eye of certainty.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
I.e., in the hereafter, through a direct, unequivocal insight into the real nature of one's past doings, and into the inescapability of the suffering which man brings upon himself by a wrong, wasteful use of the boon of life (an-na'im).

ثُمَّ لَـتُسۡـئَـلُنَّ يَوۡمَـئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِيۡمِ
(102:8) Then you will surely be asked that Day about pleasure.

“Then” in this sentence does not mean that accountability will be held after the culprits have been cast into Hell, but it means: Then We give you the news that you will be questioned about these comforts of life, and obviously this questioning will be held at the time of accountability in the divine court. Its main argument is that in several Ahadith it has been reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that the believers and the disbelievers, both will have to account for the blessings granted by Allah. However, the people who did not show ingratitude but spent their lives as grateful servants of Allah, will come out successful from the accountability, and those who proved thankless to Allah for His blessings and committed ingratitude by word or by deed, or by both; will emerge as failures.

Jabir bin Abdullah says: The Prophet (peace be upon him) once visited us and we served him with fresh dates and gave him cool water to drink. Thereupon he said: These are of the blessings about which you will be questioned. (Musnad Ahmad, Nasai, Ibn Jarir, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Marduyah, Abd bin Humaid, Baihaqi in Ash-Shuab).

Abu Hurairah has reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) once asked Abu Bakr and Umar to accompany him to the place of Abul-Haitham bin at-Taihan Ansari. Thus, he took them to the oasis of Ibn at-Taihan. The latter brought a bunch of dates and placed it before them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Why didn’t you pluck the dates yourself? He said: I thought you would yourselves select and eat dates of your choice. So, they ate the dates and drank cool water. At the end, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: By Him in Whose hand is my life: this is of the blessings about which you will be questioned on the Resurrection Day, the cool shade, the cool dates, the cool water. (This tradition has been narrated in different ways by Muslim, Ibn Majah, Abu Daud, Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ibn Jarir, Abu Yala and others, on the authority of Abu Hurairah. In some of which the name of the Ansari companion has been mentioned and in some he has been referred to as a person from among the Ansar. This incident has been related with several details by Ibn Abi Hatim from Umar and by Imam Ahmad from Abu Asib, the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) freed slave. Ibn Hibban and Ibn Marduyah have related a tradition from Abdullah bin Abbas, which shows that an almost similar thing had happened in the house of Abu Ayyub Ansari.

These Ahadith make it explicit that not only the disbelievers but the righteous believers too will be questioned. As for the blessings which Allah has bestowed on man, they are unlimited and countless. There are many blessings of which man is not even conscious. The Quran says: If you try to count the blessings of Allah, you will not be able to calculate them. (Surah Ibrahim, Ayat 34). Countless of them are the blessings which Allah has granted directly to man, and a large number of these are the blessings which man is granted through his own skill and endeavor. About the blessings that accrue to man in consequence of his own labor and skill, he will have to render an account as to how he acquired them and in what ways he spent them. In respect of the blessings directly bestowed by Allah, he will have to give an account as to how he used them. And in respect of all the blessings, on the whole, he will have to tell whether he had acknowledged that those blessings had been granted by Allah and whether he had expressed gratitude for them to Allah with his heart, and by word and deed, or whether he thought he had received all that accidentally, or as a gift from many gods, or whether he held the belief that although those were the blessings of One God, in their bestowal many other beings also had a part, and for that very reason he had taken them as his gods and worshiped and thanked them as such.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
Ie., soon come to know in this world and the next. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
The double stress in these verses is to make this warning more effective as well as to express the fact that a nation which rejects and denies the message of a messenger directly assigned towards it, faces severe punishment not only in this world, but also in the next. In other words, it admonishes them to either mend their ways or get ready to face this double humiliation – for a decision about their fate is about to be made. The threat hidden beneath the obscurity found in the word تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ (you will come to know) is too evident to be described in words. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 523)
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
We shall be questioned, i.e., we shall be held responsible for every kind of joy we indulge in-whether it was false pride or delight in things of no value, or things evil, or the enjoyment of things legitimate,-the last, to see whether we kept this within reasonable bounds.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sürah At-Takāthur 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.
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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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