Central Theme and Relationship with the Previous Surah
Like the previous surahs of this group, this surah too warns the disbelievers about the Day of Judgement. The previous surah ended on the note that the real reason why the slaves to worldly pleasures were evading the reminders of this Day was that they had lost their innate guidance of discerning good and evil. The practice of the Almighty is that those who are alive to this guidance are blessed with further guidance, and those who become indifferent to it become so blind and deaf to the truth that no reminder is able to influence them.
In order to fully delineate this law of guidance, the Almighty has sworn by the reproaching soul found innately in every human being and has presented it to substantiate the Day of Judgement. This reproaching soul is hidden in a person and chides him on every evil that emanates from him. Its very existence in a human being is ample proof of the fact that man will not be left unaccountable and is not given any absolute powers. In other words, it is not possible that the Almighty remain unconcerned with what good or evil he may do. Man is a mini-world and the existence of the reproaching soul within him suggests that the mega-world also has a reproaching soul which is called the Day of Judgement. It will manifest itself one day and reproach and chide people on their evil deeds – people who remained indifferent to their internal mechanism of reproach.
It is evident from this discussion that the greater Day of Judgement has a reflection in every human being in the form of his conscience and reproaching soul which can be termed as a lesser Day of Judgement. In other words, if a person does some evil, he does not do it in hiding; he does so at the very doors of the divine court of justice before a divine judge. Consequently, after presenting the reproaching soul as witness, the Qur'an says: بَلۡ یُرِیۡدُ الۡاِنۡسَانُ لِیَفۡجُرَ اَمَامَہٗ (4:75) (in fact, man wants to be mischievous before his [conscience], (75:4)). This very aspect is explained in subsequent verses by the words: بَلِ الۡاِنۡسَانُ عَلٰی نَفۡسِہٖ بَصِیۡرَۃٌ.وَّ لَوۡ اَلۡقٰی مَعَاذِیۡرَہٗ (75: 14-15) (in fact, he himself is a witness upon his own self however much he may present excuses, (75:14-15)).
Here it should be kept in consideration that the experts of modern moral philosophy have also acknowledged certain basic virtues as virtues and certain basic vices as vices and regarded this to be a foundational principle. They have then gone on to build their theories on this principle. However, they have not been able to tell from where they have deduced these virtues to be virtues and these vices to be vices. As a result, the edifices they have built have no foundation to stand upon. Nevertheless, they accept that man has an awareness of basic virtues and basic vices. In this surah, the Qur'an has referred to this aspect by saying that the Almighty has not only made man innately aware of good and evil, He has also blessed him with a conscience which chides him on evil deeds and praises him on good ones. And then, the Qur'an, on the basis of this psychological reality, has substantiated the Day of Judgement and the reward and punishment that will take place on that Day. In other words, if the Almighty has devised a method for reproaching a person from within him on every evil that emanates from him and praising him on every good that ensues from him, how is it possible that He will not bring about a Day of accountability for the whole of this world and each person not be rewarded and punished for his deeds?
Analysis of the Discourse
Following is an analysis of the discourse of this surah:
Verses (1-6): An oath is sworn by the Day of Judgement on the certainty of the Day. The reproaching soul in man is also presented as a proof of that Day and it is asserted that the disbelievers who demand hastening of the advent of that day and regard their recreation after being decayed in the dust to be an impossibility are actually going against the very testimony of their conscience. Their example is that of an audacious thief who steals right before the eyes of the judge.
Verses (7-15): A rejoinder is sounded to those who demand hastening of the advent of the Day of Judgement: today they are trying to deny an obvious reality and are pestering the Prophet (sws) by asking him to hasten the arrival of the Day of Judgement; however, when it will come about with a great upheaval, they will acknowledge that there is no place for them to escape to. On that Day, there will be no resting place for anyone except with God. Each person will be called upon to answer for every deed of his, and this reality is not hidden to them even though they might try their utmost to cover it up by vain talk.
Verses (16-19): The Prophet (sws) is asked to refrain from showing hurry in acquiring the Qur'an and is asked to exercise patience; however much his opponents might show haste, he should not be influenced by them and demand that the Qur'an be revealed soon; he should calmly acquire it in the manner it is being revealed and disseminate it to his people. The Almighty is revealing it as per His wisdom and expediency. He has taken upon Himself the responsibility of its collection and arrangement, protection and preservation, explanation and elucidation. The Prophet (sws) should not worry about any of these aspects.
Verses (20-25): The disbelievers of the Day of Judgement are rebuked and told that they have no basis for this denial. Whatever baseless excuses they are offering originate from their love of this world against the call of their own conscience. They also originate from their indifference to the Hereafter whereas it is a certain reality. On that day, many faces will be fresh expecting the blessing of their Lord, and many faces will be gloomy thinking that a back-breaking calamity is about to befall them.
Verses (26-40): No one should remain under the misconception that the Almighty will let people go scot-free. Everyone will have to face the agony of death, and in this state of helplessness will have to take the journey towards his Lord. Unfortunate is he who neither spent in the way of God nor prayed to Him; on the contrary, whenever he would be reminded of these duties, he would express utter arrogance and walk away conceitedly to his family. Everyone should remember the fact that it is not at all difficult for the Almighty to re-create man once he dies and decays for it was the Almighty Who created him from a drop of sperm and perfected him and blessed him with various abilities.
Text and Translation
بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ
لَاۤ اُقۡسِمُ بِیَوۡمِ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ ۙ﴿۱﴾وَ لَاۤ اُقۡسِمُ بِالنَّفۡسِ اللَّوَّامَۃِ ؕ﴿۲﴾اَیَحۡسَبُ الۡاِنۡسَانُ اَلَّنۡ نَّجۡمَعَ عِظَامَہٗ ؕ﴿۳﴾بَلٰی قٰدِرِیۡنَ عَلٰۤی اَنۡ نُّسَوِّیَ بَنَانَہٗ ﴿۴﴾بَلۡ یُرِیۡدُ الۡاِنۡسَانُ لِیَفۡجُرَ اَمَامَہٗ ۚ﴿۵﴾یَسۡـَٔلُ اَیَّانَ یَوۡمُ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ ؕ﴿۶﴾فَاِذَا بَرِقَ الۡبَصَرُ ۙ﴿۷﴾وَ خَسَفَ الۡقَمَرُ ۙ﴿۸﴾وَ جُمِعَ الشَّمۡسُ وَ الۡقَمَرُ ۙ﴿۹﴾یَقُوۡلُ الۡاِنۡسَانُ یَوۡمَئِذٍ اَیۡنَ الۡمَفَرُّ ﴿ۚ۱۰﴾کَلَّا لَا وَزَرَ ﴿ؕ۱۱﴾اِلٰی رَبِّکَ یَوۡمَئِذِۣ الۡمُسۡتَقَرُّ ﴿ؕ۱۲﴾یُنَبَّؤُا الۡاِنۡسَانُ یَوۡمَئِذٍۭ بِمَا قَدَّمَ وَ اَخَّرَ ﴿ؕ۱۳﴾بَلِ الۡاِنۡسَانُ عَلٰی نَفۡسِہٖ بَصِیۡرَۃٌ ﴿ۙ۱۴﴾وَّ لَوۡ اَلۡقٰی مَعَاذِیۡرَہٗ ﴿ؕ۱۵﴾لَا تُحَرِّکۡ بِہٖ لِسَانَکَ لِتَعۡجَلَ بِہٖ ﴿ؕ۱۶﴾اِنَّ عَلَیۡنَا جَمۡعَہٗ وَ قُرۡاٰنَہٗ ﴿ۚۖ۱۷﴾فَاِذَا قَرَاۡنٰہُ فَاتَّبِعۡ قُرۡاٰنَہٗ ﴿ۚ۱۸﴾ثُمَّ اِنَّ عَلَیۡنَا بَیَانَہٗ ﴿ؕ۱۹﴾کَلَّا بَلۡ تُحِبُّوۡنَ الۡعَاجِلَۃَ ﴿ۙ۲۰﴾وَ تَذَرُوۡنَ الۡاٰخِرَۃَ ﴿ؕ۲۱﴾وُجُوۡہٌ یَّوۡمَئِذٍ نَّاضِرَۃٌ ﴿ۙ۲۲﴾اِلٰی رَبِّہَا نَاظِرَۃٌ ﴿ۚ۲۳﴾وَ وُجُوۡہٌ یَّوۡمَئِذٍۭ بَاسِرَۃٌ ﴿ۙ۲۴﴾تَظُنُّ اَنۡ یُّفۡعَلَ بِہَا فَاقِرَۃٌ ﴿ؕ۲۵﴾کَلَّاۤ اِذَا بَلَغَتِ التَّرَاقِیَ ﴿ۙ۲۶﴾وَ قِیۡلَ مَنۡ ٜ رَاقٍ ﴿ۙ۲۷﴾وَّ ظَنَّ اَنَّہُ الۡفِرَاقُ ﴿ۙ۲۸﴾وَ الۡتَفَّتِ السَّاقُ بِالسَّاقِ ﴿ۙ۲۹﴾اِلٰی رَبِّکَ یَوۡمَئِذِۣ الۡمَسَاقُ ﴿ؕ۳۰﴾فَلَا صَدَّقَ وَ لَا صَلّٰی ﴿ۙ۳۱﴾وَ لٰکِنۡ کَذَّبَ وَ تَوَلّٰی ﴿ۙ۳۲﴾ثُمَّ ذَہَبَ اِلٰۤی اَہۡلِہٖ یَتَمَطّٰی ﴿ؕ۳۳﴾اَوۡلٰی لَکَ فَاَوۡلٰی ﴿ۙ۳۴﴾ثُمَّ اَوۡلٰی لَکَ فَاَوۡلٰی ﴿ؕ۳۵﴾اَیَحۡسَبُ الۡاِنۡسَانُ اَنۡ یُّتۡرَکَ سُدًی ﴿ؕ۳۶﴾اَلَمۡ یَکُ نُطۡفَۃً مِّنۡ مَّنِیٍّ یُّمۡنٰی ﴿ۙ۳۷﴾ثُمَّ کَانَ عَلَقَۃً فَخَلَقَ فَسَوّٰی ﴿ۙ۳۸﴾فَجَعَلَ مِنۡہُ الزَّوۡجَیۡنِ الذَّکَرَ وَ الۡاُنۡثٰی ﴿ؕ۳۹﴾اَلَیۡسَ ذٰلِکَ بِقٰدِرٍ عَلٰۤی اَنۡ یُّحۡیَِۧ الۡمَوۡتٰی ﴿۴۰﴾
In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful.
By no means! I swear by the Day of Judgement. And by no means! I swear by the reproaching soul. Does man think that We will not be able to bring together his bones? Why not? We will put him together such that We will set right even the sections of his fingers. In fact, man wants to be mischievous before his [conscience]. He asks: "When will the Day of Judgement come?" (1-6)
Thus when the sight is dazed and the moon eclipsed and the sun and the moon brought together, at that time man will say "Whither to flee?" – No! there is no refuge now! Towards your Lord that Day is the abode. On that Day, man will be informed of what he sent forth and what he left behind. In fact, he himself is a witness upon his own self however much he may put up excuses. (7-15)
To swiftly learn it, do not hastily move your tongue to read it. It is Our responsibility to collect and to recite it. So when We have recited it, follow thisrecital. Then it is upon Us to explain it. (16-19)
Certainly not! In fact, you people only love this world and are heedless of the life to come. How many a face will be bright on that Day awaiting the graciousness of their Lord and how many a face will be gloomy on that Day apprehending that there is going to befall them a back-breaking calamity. (20-25)
Certainly not! On the Day when the soul will be stuck in the collar bone and it is said: "Who is it that can weave a spell now?" and he will think that it is parting time and the shank will embrace the shank. On that Day, towards your Lord is the departure. (26-30)
Thus he neither testified nor prayed; on the contrary, he denied and turned away. Then he went away to his people conceitedly. Woe be to you! Yet again woe be to you! And again woe be to you! Yes again woe be to you! (31-35)
Does man think that he will be left to go unchecked? Was he not a mere drop of sperm poured forth? Then he became a clot of blood and then God created him and then perfected him. Then made pairs of him: male and female. Is not that God able to raise the dead to life?(36-40)
لَاۤ اُقۡسِمُ بِیَوۡمِ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ ۙ﴿۱﴾
When a particle of negation occurs before an oath the way it has occurred here, it is not meant to negate the oath; it is in fact meant to refute a notion of the addressee for whose refutation the oath had been sworn in the first place. I have explained this style earlier as well at various instances. Examples of such a style not only abound in Arabic, they exist in most other languages as well. When we want to immediately refute a notion of someone, we say: "No! By God! The truth of the matter is such and such." What is conveyed by such a style is that so baseless is the notion of the addressee that the speaker is not even willing to wait so much as to negate it after the oath; he refutes it and in fact finds it necessary to express his disgust before the oath. Some people have regarded the particle of negation as superfluous and some regard it to directly relate to the verb it precedes. However, as per linguistic principles of Arabic, both these views are not correct. I have refuted them at various places in this exegesis. My mentor, Imam Hamid al-Din Farahi,has also discussed this issue at length in his exegesis. Those who want to see the details are advised to look it up.
Here the complement of oath (muqsam 'alayh) is not mentioned for two reasons:
Firstly, it is so evident that there is no need to express it in words. In other words, the oath itself bears evidence to its complement. The sun is a witness on itself as they say. Many examples of such suppression can be seen in preceding surahs. For example, in Surah Qaf and in Surah Su'ad, the oaths of وَ الۡقُرۡاٰنِ الۡمَجِیۡدِ and وَ الۡقُرۡاٰنِ ذِی الذِّکۡرِ occur without their complements. The purpose of such oaths is to inform the addressee that what is being refuted by him is itself so obvious a testimony to its truth and veracity that there exists no possibility to deny it.
Secondly, the oath sworn by the reproaching soul mentioned subsequently is such a self-obvious testimony to the Day of Judgment that refuting it, as will be explained later, is tantamount to refuting one's own conscience. In the presence of such a testimony, no further evidence is required for the Day of Judgement. In such cases, the premise which is to be substantiated and the testimony which substantiates it assume the status of the oath and the complement of oath respectively.
وَ لَاۤ اُقۡسِمُ بِالنَّفۡسِ اللَّوَّامَۃِ ؕ﴿۲﴾
This is the second oath. Its complement (muqsam 'alayh) is also not mentioned in words. The reason is that this complement is hidden within the oath. Thus what is implied is that the existence of the reproaching soul within man is evidence enough for the Day of Judgement. In other words, this second oath delineates both the oath and its complement, and points to the fact that no external evidence is required for that Day. Its reflection is found within man and he is able to see it too even though he may put forth various reasons to refute it.
The reproaching soul is not an independent entity; it is part of the human soul. The Almighty has fashioned the human soul such that He has blessed it with an awareness of good and evil. He has also prescribed a principle for the success and failure of a person: he who cleanses his soul of evil will succeed and he who contaminates his soul with evil will be doomed. In Surah al-Shams, the words are:
وَ نَفۡسٍ وَّ مَا سَوّٰىہَا.فَاَلۡہَمَہَا فُجُوۡرَہَا وَ تَقۡوٰىہَا.قَدۡ اَفۡلَحَ مَنۡ زَکّٰىہَا.وَ قَدۡ خَابَ مَنۡ دَسّٰىہَا.(91: 7-10)
And the soul bears witness and the perfection given to it, then [God] inspired it with its evil and its good that he succeeded who purified it and he failed who soiled it. (91:7-10)
Because of being composed thus, at times, the human soul loses its balance by being overcome with its desires and induces a person to do evil. This proclivity of the soul is called the Enticing Soul (nafs-i ammarah) by the Qur'an. The Prophet Joseph (sws) has referred to this aspect of the soul thus:
وَ مَاۤ اُبَرِّیُٔ نَفۡسِیۡ ۚ اِنَّ النَّفۡسَ لَاَمَّارَۃٌۢ بِالسُّوۡٓءِ(53:12)
I do not claim my soul to be free from sin: the soul is very prone to evil. (12:53)
However, this soul also possesses an awareness of virtue; hence as long as it is able to maintain balance, it even reproaches its own self if some vice emanates from it; at the same time, it also feels disgust and revulsion if some other person indulges in vice and reproaches it. It is this aspect of the soul which is called the reproaching soul here.
The strategy which a person should adopt in maintaining the balance of his soul is that he should keep his Lord and the Day of Judgement in his remembrance. This remembrance checks the soul and never lets it totally submit to its desires. If a person errs, the reproaching soul at once checks him, and makes him realize his folly; the person then turns to God in repentance and tries to make amends. The soul which is able to achieve this balance is called the Satisfied Soul (nafs-i mutma'innah). This is the highest position a person can reach in training and disciplining his soul. The Almighty has urged him to try to attain this position and blessed mankind with His divine law so that it can attain this position by adhering to it. Such a soul will be blessed with a unique gift in the Hereafter: The Almighty shall be pleased with it and it shall be pleased with the Almighty.
It is evident from this explanation that the awareness of vice being vice is innately found in man from the very moment he was created. Adam's son Cain while being overcome with jealousy killed Abel; however, after this murder, he tried to hide his corpse. This effort obviously was undertaken by him because he realized his sin. The most evil of men commits a sin not because he regards it to be a virtuous act, but because he is overwhelmed with desires and emotions. If he goes against his conscience in this matter, he does so against his natural inclinations. The proof of this is that if someone else commits the same sin against him he regards it to be a vice and protests against it. If one examines the conscience of wicked people, one will see that they too respect virtuous acts even though they do not do such acts. Ever since man started to live as a collectivity he has always set up a system of justice in it. Even though, at times, certain sins engulf a whole society and dominate virtue, the collective conscience of the society never condones this. In fact, there always exist people in such a society who carry out the same responsibility in it as is carried out by the reproaching soul found within every upright person. When the situation reaches the extent that a society becomes totally bereft of virtue, then as per the law of providence, such a society is wiped out from the face of the earth.
Now the question is that if a person has a guardian within his conscience which chides him on every evil that emanates from him, then how can it be imagined that man will not be held accountable for his deeds? Why would he go scot-free if he spends a life in whatever manner he wants to while negating the calls of his conscience? If a person will not be held accountable for his deeds, then where has this chiding conscience within him come from? If his Creator is unconcerned about the good and evil which emanates from him, then why and from where has He given him the feeling of being elated at a good deed and being pricked by his conscience at a bad one? Then from here another question arises: If God has set up a miniature court of justice in every person, then why will He not set up a greater court of justice which will hold the whole world accountable for good and evil which emanate from it and not reward and punish people accordingly? Any person who deliberates on these questions while disregarding his desires will reach the conclusion that the very being of a person bears witness that he has innate knowledge of good and evil; he will not be left unaccountable; there definitely shall come one day when he will be punished for any misdeeds he may have done and be rewarded for his good deeds. To remind a person of this Day, the Almighty has placed a miniature court of justice within a person's soul so that man does not remain indifferent to it, and if ever he becomes indifferent he can catch a glimpse of it by merely reflecting on his inner-self. It is this reality which sages have taught us by saying that man is a miniature world and within this miniature world there is a reflection of the mega world. If a person has a true comprehension of his own self, he is able to comprehend both God and the Hereafter. The famous Socrates adage says: "Know Thyself."
اَیَحۡسَبُ الۡاِنۡسَانُ اَلَّنۡ نَّجۡمَعَ عِظَامَہٗ ؕ﴿۳﴾بَلٰی قٰدِرِیۡنَ عَلٰۤی اَنۡ نُّسَوِّیَ بَنَانَہٗ ﴿۴﴾
Although the general word "man" is used in these verses, the address is directed to the disbelievers of the Day of Judgement among the Quraysh whose doubts raised about this day have been discussed in the previous surahs. This general style of address is adopted to express disgust at their attitude. These verses assert that the evidence on the Day of Judgement is found within man; one does not have to look in the external world. However, these people are of the view that after dying and being decayed in dust the Almighty will not be able to bring together their bones. It is asserted in this verse that if this looks impossible to them and on its basis they deny the Day of Judgement even though their conscience bears witness to it, then they should remember that not only will the Almighty gather their bones, He will gather them with such power and perfection that even the sections of their fingers will be put together. The word بَنَانَmeans each of "the sections of a finger". The implication is that the Almighty will be able to join together even the most minute of joints.
The word قَادِرِينَ is an accusative of state (hal) from the plural pronoun in نَجْمَعَ.
بَلۡ یُرِیۡدُ الۡاِنۡسَانُ لِیَفۡجُرَ اَمَامَہٗ ۚ﴿۵﴾
The implication of this verse is that it is mere vain talk on the part of the disbelievers to deny the Day of Judgement because they think that gathering bones is improbable. The reality is that they have become slaves to their desires: while following them they want to be mischievous before the judge appointed by the Almighty. This judge is not far away; he is sitting within them. Their example is that of a thief who wants to steal in front of a judge.
Exegetes have generally taken the word اَمَامَہٗ (in front of him) to mean that man in his future life wants to continue to adhere to sin. For this reason, he tries to invent excuses for denying the Day of Judgement. However, if this interpretation is accepted, it neither relates to the reproaching soul nor does it become an irrefutable argument against his attitude. Here the word "in front of" means that before his conscience and reproaching soul he wants to be mischievous in spite of reminders from this faculty. The greatest evidence of the Day of Judgement is found within man; however, what can one do about a person who becomes adamant in denying his own self?
The argument found in this verse is that a man's conscience is enough to bear evidence of the Day of Judgement; however, one cannot shut the mouth of a person who is audacious enough to tell a lie to his own conscience.
It also follows from this that a person who commits a vice against his reproaching soul or in other words his own conscience is one who actually commits vice in the presence of God. This is because one's conscience is a judge appointed by God, as indicated above. Thus, a vice committed before it is a vice committed before God.
یَسۡـَٔلُ اَیَّانَ یَوۡمُ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ ؕ﴿۶﴾
This is a mention of the stubbornness of those who disbelieved in the Day of Judgement. In spite of the fact that an accountability court is found within them and they are also aware of it, they ask about the advent of that Day. They would sarcastically remark: "If it is to come why is it not coming? We are tired of being threatened about it. It was in fact never supposed to come and neither will it come in the future. So why should we be overawed by these threats? Those who claim that it will come one day must bring it and show it to us. Only then will we believe it. Mere verbal claims will not convince us."
فَاِذَا بَرِقَ الۡبَصَرُ ۙ﴿۷﴾وَ خَسَفَ الۡقَمَرُ ۙ﴿۸﴾وَ جُمِعَ الشَّمۡسُ وَ الۡقَمَرُ ۙ﴿۹﴾یَقُوۡلُ الۡاِنۡسَانُ یَوۡمَئِذٍ اَیۡنَ الۡمَفَرُّ ﴿ۚ۱۰﴾
The implication of these verses is that today these disbelievers are showing impatience at the delay in the Day of Judgement as if they are fully ready to encounter it. But where will they run to when they actually face its horrors?
Since the demand of being shown the Day of Judgement is an absolutely absurd demand, no reply is given by the Qur'an to it. However, some horrific aspects of that Day are portrayed by it in these verses.
The state of affairs portrayed belongs to the category of mutashabihat. We cannot grasp their true form in this world. The purpose of this portrayal is to show that such will be the upheaval that will ensue on that Day that the sun and the moon will leave their own orbits and adopt the same path. Who can comprehend the horrific nature of this? The implication is that if people have even a semblance of intellect in them, they should seek refuge from these horrors and adhere to the path which is being shown to them and which will save them from these horrors. Thus they should stop showing impatience on its delay.
It should remain clear that the incidents mentioned here which will happen on that Day merely give a slight picture of what will happen, and are only a handful of what else will happen when the Day comes. In the coming surahs of this group, various other aspects of the Day will be depicted. These too will only be a few, for the tongue is unable to portray all of them.
کَلَّا لَا وَزَرَ ﴿ؕ۱۱﴾اِلٰی رَبِّکَ یَوۡمَئِذِۣ الۡمُسۡتَقَرُّ ﴿ؕ۱۲﴾
This is the answer to the question quoted in the previous verse: "Whither to flee?" Except for seeking refuge with God all other paths and ways will be closed to them.
یُنَبَّؤُا الۡاِنۡسَانُ یَوۡمَئِذٍۭ بِمَا قَدَّمَ وَ اَخَّرَ ﴿ؕ۱۳﴾
Mentioned in this verse is the real reason for the advent of the Day of Judgement. Being informed here means being shown the consequences of the deeds. The results of both the vices a person committed in the previous world and the virtues he failed to attain will become apparent to him. At many places in the Qur'an, it is specifically mentioned that on the Day of Judgement those who remained indifferent to it will express extreme frustration. They will express regret for not having done good deeds in the previous world, not having followed the warnings of the Messengers of God and not professing faith in them. The words قَدَّمَ and اَخَّرَ embrace all the evil deeds and vices committed by such people.
It should be kept in mind that to achieve success in the Hereafter, a person has to do many good deeds and evade evil ones. However, those who are indifferent to the Hereafter or deny it are either indifferent to or deviate from deeds which pave the way for their success in the Hereafter. On the other hand, all their life they keep committing deeds which will lead them to doom in the Hereafter. This verse sounds a warning to such deprived and bereft people.
بَلِ الۡاِنۡسَانُ عَلٰی نَفۡسِہٖ بَصِیۡرَۃٌ ﴿ۙ۱۴﴾وَّ لَوۡ اَلۡقٰی مَعَاذِیۡرَہٗ ﴿ؕ۱۵﴾
These verses explain what is mentioned earlier by the words: بَلۡ یُرِیۡدُ الۡاِنۡسَانُ لِیَفۡجُرَ اَمَامَہٗ (in fact, man wants to be mischievous before his [conscience]). There, the discourse with relation to the question posed by the opponents: یَسۡـَٔلُ اَیَّانَ یَوۡمُ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ (when will the Day of Judgement come?) had shifted to the portrayal of the Day of Judgement. Now in this verse the discourse returns to its original course and the subject under discussion is completed. The expression بَصِيْرَةٌ عَلَي نَفْسِه means شَاهِدٌ عَلَي نَفْسِهِ (he is a witness upon his own self). The reason for this has already been mentioned earlier: the reproaching soul within man bears witness to the Hereafter. There is no need to go far to find a testimony to this Day. He can see its reflection within his own conscience.
The word مَعَاذِیۡرَہٗ is a plural of مَعَذِرةٌ. It is actually مَعَاذِرٌ. A يhas been added in it just as it has been added in مَنَاكِيْر. It means false pretexts and baseless excuses. There is an Arabic proverb: المَعَاذِرُ مَكَاذِبُ (excuses are but lies).Some people think that it is a plural of مِعِذَار which in the Yemenite tongue means "a curtain." I disagree with this view because the Qur'an has been revealed in the idiomatic language of the Quraysh and not in that of the people of Yemen.
لَا تُحَرِّکۡ بِہٖ لِسَانَکَ لِتَعۡجَلَ بِہٖ ﴿ؕ۱۶﴾اِنَّ عَلَیۡنَا جَمۡعَہٗ وَ قُرۡاٰنَہٗ ﴿ۚۖ۱۷﴾فَاِذَا قَرَاۡنٰہُ فَاتَّبِعۡ قُرۡاٰنَہٗ ﴿ۚ۱۸﴾ثُمَّ اِنَّ عَلَیۡنَا بَیَانَہٗ ﴿ؕ۱۹﴾
These verses urge the Prophet (sws) to be patient on the hastiness and various new demands of his opponents. It was with the sole support of divine revelation through which the Prophet (sws) was able to truly discharge the heavy responsibility of openly warning his people imposed on him by the Almighty. He was like a soldier, fighting at a battle front, who could not move even one step without guidance from his Lord. In order to torment him, his opponents raised all sorts of demands and objections before him. In this manner, they would try their utmost to check the advance in his preaching mission. Earlier in this surah, one of their demands is cited: they would ask the Prophet (sws) to bring forth the Day of Judgement which he threatened them with; if it was certain to come, why was it not arriving? Similarly, they would object that if the Qur'an was God's word, why was it not revealed all at once? In short, they would shower objections from all sides, and the Prophet (sws), on the other hand, would wait for divine revelation to answer all these objections. It was through divine revelation that his heart would receive strength, his soul would be rejuvenated, his intellect guided and his determination strengthened. Consequently, it is evident both from the Qur'an and Hadith that whenever there was a delay in the advent of revelation because of some divine wisdom, he would keep looking up to the heavens. This impatience and keenness would also be evident when Gabriel delivered the revelation to him. Like an enthusiastic student he would want to learn all the revelation as soon as possible and also preserve it fully lest even a drop of this blessed rain go waste. With this background in mind, let us now deliberate on these verses.
By the words لَا تُحَرِّکۡ بِہٖ لِسَانَکَ لِتَعۡجَلَ بِہٖ the Prophet (sws) has been stopped from showing hastiness and impatience which overcame him whenever a revelation descended upon him. Although the subject of keenness and hastiness is very commonly found in the literature of most languages, it is almost impossible to express in words the hastiness and impatience with which the Prophet (sws) would be overcome when he received a revelation after a long gap and in the face of the idle talk of his opponents. When a child is hungry and his mother presses him to her bosom, he wants to drink all the milk in a single breath; when a traveller exhausted from traversing a desert sees a bucket full of water after a long wait, he wants to gulp all of it in one sip; similarly, if a person, suffering from the pangs of being away from his beloved, receives a letter from her, he would want to read each and every word of it in a single glance. Although these examples are deficient, yet as indicated earlier, they can give us some idea of the hastiness and anxiety so spontaneously expressed by the Prophet (sws) whenever he was blessed with divine revelation.
The reasons for this impatience were many, as referred to before. Thus, for example:
· All the strategy that needed to be adopted by him in the capacity of God's Messenger could only be known through divine revelation.
· His spiritual, moral and intellectual needs could only be fulfilled through it.
· He would receive from it the guidance needed to face existing and future circumstances.
· It was through it that he was able to answer the objections and demands which his adversaries would keep posing to him every now and then.
· His great love for knowledge and his sensitivity in preserving it also contributed very much to it.
.By no means! I swear by the Day of Judgement.
.And by no means! I swear by the reproaching soul.
.Does man think that We will not be able to bring together his bones? Why not? We will put him together such that We will set right even the sections of his fingers.
.In fact man wants to be mischievous before his [conscience].
.He asks: "When will the Day of Judgement come?"
.Thus when the sight is dazed and the moon eclipsed and the sun and the moon brought together, at that time man will say "Whither to flee?"
.– No! there is no refuge now! Towards your Lord that Day is the abode.
.On that Day, man will be informed of what he sent forth and what he left behind.
.In fact, he himself is a witness upon his own self however much he may put up excuses.
.To swiftly learn it, do not hastily move your tongue to read it. It is Our responsibility to collect and to recite it. So when We have recited it, follow this recital. Then it is upon Us to explain it.