Surah al-Qiyamah (2)

Surah al-Qiyamah (2)

All these motives were very genuine and noble; however, it was God's wisdom that the Qur'an be revealed gradually – just as it was being done. Consequently, the Prophet (sws) was repeatedly urged to exercise patience. In Surah Taha (114-115) too he has been similarly urged. I have already referred to some aspects of this there. Here too the subject is primarily the same. However, with respect to his mental state during the time of revelation of this surah, here he has been subsequently assured of the preservation of the Qur'an also. The Almighty had taken it upon Himself to collect and arrange it and to recite it to the Prophet (sws) and make him memorize it as well as to explain any verse of the Qur'an which needed elaboration. The Prophet (sws) was told to be content on whatever portion of the Qur'an he received and not show hastiness and anxiety about it. He was also not to worry about its preservation. He was to leave all these to his Lord. Every task would be completed at its appointed time in accordance with the wisdom of God.

The words اِنَّ عَلَیۡنَا جَمۡعَہٗ وَ قُرۡاٰنَہٗ sound an assurance to the Prophet (sws) on his anxiety referred to earlier. Since a great divine treasure was being entrusted to him, it was but natural for him to preserve each and every word that was being given in his custody. The Almighty assured him that the responsibility of preserving and reciting it was His responsibility.

The word جَمۡع is a comprehensive one: it means preservation in the heart of the Prophet (sws) and also bringing together all the parts of the Qur'an. Consequently, the Prophet (sws) would continuously receive guidance regarding the placement of the revealed verses in various surahs. As a result, he would direct the collectors to insert these verses at their specific places. They, of course, obeyed these instructions diligently.

A further arrangement that was made by the Almighty was that in each Ramadan, the Prophet (sws) read out the Qur'an revealed till that time to Gabriel in order to safeguard any loss from memory. It is evident from various narratives that in the last Ramadan of the Prophet (sws) this reading took place twice. The word قُرۡاٰنَہ points to this reading.

The verse فَاِذَا قَرَاۡنٰہُ فَاتَّبِعۡ قُرۡاٰنَہٗ implies that the Prophet (sws) was not to ask that the Qur'an be quickly revealed to him. He was to leave the matter to God, Who would reveal it in a specific amount as per His wisdom. He would also arrange to preserve and collect and arrange it. The Prophet's responsibility was to only follow the recital of what has been read out to him of the Qur'an. He was to read it, act on it and call people towards it. Also, he was to pay no heed to the demand of people who are asking for its revelation in one go.

A further assurance is sounded to the Prophet (sws) in the verse ثُمَّ اِنَّ عَلَیۡنَا بَیَانَہٗ. If explanation was required of any part of the Qur'an, it was the responsibility of the Almighty to furnish it. The Prophet (sws) did not need to fret about this. It would be done when the time came. This is a reference to the tabyin verses which were revealed to explain and elucidate a previously revealed directive or to abrogate or to complete it. I have referred to these elucidatory verses at a number of places in this exegesis. The words کَذٰلِکَ یُبَیِّنُ اللّٰہُ (in this way does God explain) generally occur after them. They are actually the fulfilment of the promise mentioned in ثُمَّ اِنَّ عَلَیۡنَا بَیَانَہٗ.

I will now present excerpts from the exegesis of my mentor Imam Hamid al-Din Farahi which he has written while explaining these verses. He writes:[1]

The exegetes think that the cause of the haste mentioned in these verses is that the Prophet (sws) was anxious about losing any part of the Qur'an. I do not differ with this view; however, there are some more details in this which need to be understood.

When the Prophet (sws) received divine guidance, he thought that he was being given a great responsibility and that he was being entrusted with a great thing; the slightest of mistakes or the loss of even a single letter would hold him accountable before God. Simultaneously, he wished to receive more and more divine revelation for any part of it might be instrumental in giving guidance to his people. Both these aspects are very evident regarding this matter. Consequently, the assurance sounded to him in this surah takes into consideration both these aspects.

The preservation of the Qur'an has been promised by the Almighty both in a concise and comprehensive manner. Thus, for example, it is said:

وَ اِنَّہٗ لَکِتٰبٌ عَزِیۡزٌ.لَّا یَاۡتِیۡہِ الۡبَاطِلُ مِنۡۢ بَیۡنِ یَدَیۡہِ وَ لَا مِنۡ خَلۡفِہٖ ؕ تَنۡزِیۡلٌ مِّنۡ حَکِیۡمٍ حَمِیۡدٍ .(41: 41-42)

And this is a mighty scripture. Falsehood cannot reach it,either from in front of it or from behind it. It is a revelation from a wise and glorious God. (41:41-42)

At another place, the words are:

اِنَّا نَحۡنُ نَزَّلۡنَا الذِّکۡرَ وَ اِنَّا لَہٗ لَحٰفِظُوۡنَ .(9:15)

It was We Who revealed the Reminder, and We shall Ourself preserve it. (15:9)

It is evident from these verses that there is no possibility of any addition or deletion in the Qur'an. Consequently, there exists a consensus in the whole of this ummah that the Qur'an has remained preserved. The popular view attributed to the Imamiyyah sect that a part of the Qur'an has been made to disappear is totally against the opinion of their authorities. Sayyid Murtada, Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Tusi (popularly known as the Sheikh al-Tai'fah), Abu 'Ali Tabari, Tabrasi (the author of Majma' al-bayan), Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn Babawayh al-Qummi – all have vehemently denied this absurd view. 'Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn Babawayh al-Qummi says: "It is our belief that the very Qur'an revealed to the Prophet by the Almighty is the one which is found between two covers in the Muslim ummah. There is not a single letter of the Qur'an more than this. A person who attributes to us the view that we believe the Qur'an consisted of more is a liar." Regarding the narratives which are found in their literature in this matter, Sayyid Murtada says that those among the Imamiyyah and the Hashawiyyah sects who differ with this view are of no significance because their view is based on some weak Ahadith that they regard to be authentic. However, on the basis of such weak Ahadith, a proven and certain reality cannot be rejected.

Farahi subsequently goes on to state the conclusions he has drawn from the above quoted verses of Surah al-Qiyamah:[2]

First, the Qur'an was collected and arranged in the lifetime of the Prophet (sws) and recited to him in a specific sequence. If this promise was to be fulfilled after his death, he would not have been asked to follow this new recital [referred to by the words: "So when We have recited it out, follow this recital"].

Second, the Prophet (sws) was directed to read the arranged Qur'an in its new sequence … this directive means that the Prophet (sws) must have communicated the final arrangement of the Qur'an the way it was finally recited to him. And this arrangement must have been the same as the one found in the guarded tablet (the lawh-i mahfuẓ). This is because the final recital had to match the original recital [found in the tablet].

Third, after this collection and arrangement, the Almighty explained whatever He intended to from among specifying a general directive or vice versa, furnishing supplementary directives and reducing the scope of some directives.

Farahi further states:[3]

All these conclusions are evident from the Qur'an and also corroborated by Hadith literature. Consequently, the Prophet (sws) would read out whole surahs of the Qur'an to people and this could not have been possible unless they had been read out to him in their specific sequences. The Companions (rta) would listen to and preserve the Qur'an in accordance with this arrangement and abide by it. It is known that the Prophet (sws) would direct the Companions (rta) to place the revealed verses of the Qur'an at specific places of specific surahs and the Companions (rta) would obey this directive. Then when some explanatory verse would be revealed, the Prophet (sws) would have it written either at the place immediately following the verses which needed this explanation or at the end of the surah in case these verses related to the whole theme of the surah.

Deliberation reveals another distinct feature of these explanatory verses: they themselves contained words which would show that these verses had in fact been revealed as explanation. They would generally be of the wording:کَذٰلِکَ یُبَیِّنُ اللّٰہُ اٰیٰتِہٖلِلنَّاسِ(thus does the Almighty explain His verses for people … )

Similarly, it is known from authentic and agreed upon narratives that once the whole of the Qur'an had been revealed, Gabriel recited the complete Qur'an to the Prophet (sws) in its real sequence. This clears many doubts about the sequence and arrangement of the Qur'an.

کَلَّا بَلۡ تُحِبُّوۡنَ الۡعَاجِلَۃَ ﴿ۙ۲۰﴾وَ تَذَرُوۡنَ الۡاٰخِرَۃَ ﴿ؕ۲۱﴾[4]

After urging the Prophet (sws) to show patience on the piecemeal revelation of the Qur'an, the discourse returns to its original sequence. The disbelievers are addressed and told that their attitude about the Day of Judgement is not because they do not have any argument in its support; its greatest argument is found in their own conscience. The real reason for this attitude of denial is that they are infatuated with this world and its luxuries, and do not have the patience and grit to leave its immediate pleasures for the deferred pleasures of the Hereafter.

The words وَ تَذَرُوۡنَ الۡاٰخِرَۃَ mean "you are showing indifference to the Hereafter." The implication is that the Hereafter is not hidden from them; since the pleasures of this world are at hand and those of the Hereafter are not, they are intentionally showing indifference to the Hereafter.

وُجُوۡہٌ یَّوۡمَئِذٍ نَّاضِرَۃٌ ﴿ۙ۲۲﴾اِلٰی رَبِّہَا نَاظِرَۃٌ ﴿ۚ۲۳﴾وَ وُجُوۡہٌ یَّوۡمَئِذٍۭ بَاسِرَۃٌ ﴿ۙ۲۴﴾تَظُنُّ اَنۡ یُّفۡعَلَ بِہَا فَاقِرَۃٌ ﴿ؕ۲۵﴾[5]

The implication of these verses is that if for the sake of this world they are showing indifference to the Hereafter they should do so; but they should remember that the reality they disregard is certain to come, and on that Day the situation will be totally different. The faces of those who spent their life in its awareness will be fresh and bright. They will await the blessings and mercy of God. On the other hand, the faces of those who led their lives while being indifferent to it will be bleak and gloomy and they will apprehend a calamity which will break their backs.

Portrayed in these verses is actually the situation that will arise before people enter Paradise or Hell. When those worthy of Paradise will see that at every step angels are welcoming them with words of peace and reverence, their faces will turn bright in anticipation of the bright future which awaits them. They will be hopeful that the time is arriving when they will be the recipients of God's promised mercy in its ultimate form. On the contrary, the situation faced by the disbelievers at each step will make their faces glum and gloomy: they will anticipate the back-breaking punishment promised to them and to which they had paid no heed in the previous world.

The words اِلٰی رَبِّہَا نَاظِرَۃٌ mean that these people will await the blessings and favours of their Lord. When the preposition اِلٰی is used with نَظِرَ just as it means to look at something, it also means to await someone's blessings and favours. Lexicographers explain this thus: if someone says اِنَّمَا نَنْظُرُ اِلَي اللّٰہِ ثُمّ اِلِيْكَ to someone from whom he is expecting blessings and favours, it would mean: "I await God's blessings and after them your favours."[6]

The context also supports this interpretation. The mental state of those who will be going to Hell is depicted thus: تَظُنُّ اَنۡ یُّفۡعَلَ بِہَا فَاقِرَۃٌ (apprehending that there is going to befall them that which breaks their backs).Because of this apprehension, their faces will be gloomy and apprehensive. In contrast, the believers are described as those who will expect and await the manifestation of their Lord's greatest mercy and as a result their faces will be joyous and cheerful.

The expression اَنۡ یُّفۡعَلَ بِہَا فَاقِرَۃٌ is grammatically analyzed by

al-Zamakhshari thus:[7] اي يفعل بها فعل هو في شدته و فطاعته فاقرة (they will be meted out such punishment the intensity of which will break their backs). Although other grammatical analyses are also possible, I would prefer this. Examples of this will be seen in the succeeding surahs.

The word فَاقِرَۃٌ refers to a calamity which shatters the bones of the spinal cord.

Some people derive man's observation of God by the verse اِلٰی رَبِّہَا نَاظِرَۃٌ. In my opinion, this verse does not refer to this if its context and occasion are understood. It is, in fact, a verse with an entirely different context and occasion. Similarly, those who oppose man's observation of God and in frenzy of this opposition alter the meaning of the preposition اِلٰی have erred in their interpretation. My view on this issue is that our belief in God in this world is not based on observation of Him. We believe in Him because certain signs and indications strongly point to His existence; however, in the Hereafter our belief in Him will be based on direct observation, and we will be able to directly witness every reality we profess faith in. As far as the nature of this observation is concerned, we cannot determine it in this world. It is from the category of mutashabihat and one is not allowed to delve into the mutashabihat. Only God, the Almighty knows the nature of this observation.

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﴾[8]

Those who are slaves to worldly pleasures are reminded of the agonies of death and of the state of helplessness a person will be in at that time. They should not regard the Day of Judgement to be improbable. It shall definitely come and they will have to take the long journey back to their Lord. Their vigour and enthusiasm will end; so helpless will they be that the shank will embrace the shank. It is in their own interest to prepare for this journey and turn towards the Almighty before this happens and before their souls are stuck in the collar bone.

Whatever my mentor, Imam Farahi, has written while explaining these verses is based on sound research. In the following paragraphs, I will summarize in his own words what he has written in his exegesis. He writes:[9]

The pronoun found in the phrase بَلَغَتِ التَّرَاقِیَ is for the soul which is not mentioned here. An example of such a suppression also occurs in the following verse of Surah al-Waqi'ah:فَلَوۡ لَاۤ اِذَا بَلَغَتِ الۡحُلۡقُوۡمَ (83:56) (when under your very eyes a man's soul reaches the throat, (56:83)). Such suppression is customary in Arabic. Hence it was not necessary to mention the antecedent of the pronoun. Examples of such suppression are also found in classical Arabic.

Hatim al-Ta'i says:

أ ماوي ما يغني الثراء عن الفتي

إذا حشرجت يوما و ضاق بها الصدر

(O Mawiyyah! What use will wealth be to a person when the soul will be trapped in the chest.)[10]

In the above quoted couplet, the nomen agentis (fa'il) of the verb is the soul but has been suppressed as per the linguistic principle alluded to earlier. Examples of such suppression are also found in the Qur'an. In Surah al-Fatir, it is said: مَا تَرَکَ عَلٰی ظَہۡرِہَا مِنۡ دَآبَّۃٍ (35:45) (not one creature would be left alive on the earth's surface, (35:45)). Here one can see that the antecedent of the pronoun هَاwhich is "the earth" has been suppressed … The sentence وَ قِیۡلَ مَنٜۡ رَاقٍ (and it is said: "Who is it that can weave a spell now?")expresses the severity and sensitivity of the situation. The passive tense قِیۡلَ has great eloquence in it. In other words, such will be the severity of the situation that no one will be able to pay attention to the person who will speak these words. To put it another way, the importance of these words will make people totally indifferent to their speaker. Everyone will be rehearsing these words. When the word مَنْ comes before an undefined noun, it implies severity in demand or great despair. Tarfah says:

اذا القوم قالوا من فتي خلت انني

عنيت فلم اكسل و لم اتبلد

(When the nation calls out: "Is there a young man?" I understand that they are referring to me; then I do not display laziness and weakness.)[11]

… Let us now see what the intentionality of the verse is and the purpose for which this style has been adopted here. In my opinion, the verse can be interpreted in two ways and there is in reality no difference between these two interpretations.

The first interpretation is that when a person will be close to death and be in an unconscious state, the attendants will worriedly call out: "Is there some conjurer who can cure this dying person?"

The second interpretation is that the attendants will say: "The matter is now finished; who can cure this dying man?" This of course is an expression of hopelessness and when the sick person hears it, he will become sure that the time for his departure has arrived. The following couplet by Khansa' portrays this situation:

لكن سهام المنايا من يصبن له

لم يشفه طب ذي طب و لا راق

(He who is stung by the arrows of death can neither be cured by the competence of a doctor nor the conjuring of a conjurer.)[12]

Both these interpretations of the verse are possible and I have presented both of them for [the analysis of the readers]. They can adopt any one of them. However, in my opinion, the second of these interpretations is closer to the context.

While explaining the expression وَ الۡتَفَّتِ السَّاقُ بِالسَّاقِ, Farahi writes:

The meaning of the shank embracing the shank is that a person will not be able to walk. This will be because of intense weakness and helplessness. As long as a person is alive, he is vigorously active in all spheres of his life; however, when he dies, it seems that his shanks have mutually embraced themselves.

… "the shank embracing the shank" is a very apt expression of frailty and helplessness. The purport of the verse is: what will happen when a doctor loses hope in the sick person, relatives withdraw in frustration, the once obedient limbs are no longer under control and he has to go to his Lord with a heavy burden?

Some people have interpreted the word سَاقُ to mean "severity of the situation." However, this view is of those people who have no knowledge of the Arabic language. These people do not understand the difference between the whole and the part. No doubt, the words كشف عن الساق when taken as a single expression is commonly used in Arabic to connote "vigour, liveliness and eagerness." However, when these words are used separately, then the word كشف means "to unveil" and الساق means "the shank." It is not that when used separately, then too they will connote the same meaning as they carry when used together in this expression.

A narrative ascribed to Ibn 'Abbas (rta) says that الساق means the last day of this world and the first day of the next. I think the narrators have not faithfully transmitted what he might have said. If the ascription is correct, it could be a reference to the situation which would arise at that time and not a delineation of the meaning of this word.

Once the correct meaning of the shank embracing the shank is understood, the occasion and context of the next sentence: اِلٰی رَبِّکَ یَوۡمَئِذِۣ الۡمَسَاقُ (on that Day, towards your Lord is the departure) can be grasped automatically. It is as if man is scolded for his indifference in preparing for this journey; he remained busy acquiring worldly pleasures and luxuries and reached a stage when in this pursuit he lost all his strength and energy; how will he now be able to reach his Lord in such a state?

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﴾[13]

Depicted in these verses is the state of deprivation of these disbelievers of the Hereafter: the journey is very exacting; yet they have no resources and provisions to take along. They have neither offered the prayer to the Almighty nor spent in His way even though these were the two deeds which were to be of use to them in this journey.

A suppression of the word بِالْحُسْني has occurred after صَدَّقَ because of strong linguistic indications. In Surah al-Layl, this suppression is expressed thus:

فَاَمَّا مَنۡ اَعۡطٰی وَ اتَّقٰی . وَ صَدَّقَ بِالۡحُسۡنٰی.فَسَنُیَسِّرُہٗ لِلۡیُسۡرٰی.(92: 5-7)

So, he who gave in the way of God, was God-fearing and attested to the good fate of the Hereafter, We shall make him traverse an easy path. (92:5-7)

It needs to be kept in consideration that spending in the way of God is very difficult for people who do not believe in the Hereafter and the good fate encountered there. This abyss can only be crossed by those whose hearts are satisfied that whatever they will spend shall be returned to them in the form of an eternal treasure in the Hereafter. It is this belief in the reward of the Hereafter which motivates a person to spend in the way of God. Those who deny it are never induced to such spending. In Surah al-Layl, the verses succeeding the ones quoted earlier portray this fact thus:

وَ اَمَّا مَنۡۢ بَخِلَ وَ اسۡتَغۡنٰی. وَ کَذَّبَ بِالۡحُسۡنٰی.فَسَنُیَسِّرُہٗ لِلۡعُسۡرٰی.(92: 8-10)

And he who showed miserliness, was indifferent and belied the good fate, We shall make him traverse an arduous path, (92: 8-10)

In the light of these verses, the meaning of فَلَا صَدَّقَ will be that the person neither attested to the good fate of the Hereafter nor did he spend in the way of the Almighty. In other words, the meanings of both rejecting the Hereafter and stinginess are implied in this expression. After this, the words are: وَ لَا صَلّٰی (and he did not pray). In other words, the real motive for spending in the way of God and offering the prayer is belief in reward in the Hereafter. When this belief is non-existent in them, how can these deeds emanate from these people.

Here once again let us refresh what is so often expressed in this exegesis: it is on prayer and spending in the way of God – the two primary deeds – that the shari'ah is based. It is evident from this verse that both of these are themselves dependent upon belief in the Hereafter. People in whom this belief is not strong, will not be able to undertake them.

In the verse: وَ لٰکِنۡ کَذَّبَ وَ تَوَلّٰی, theword کَذَّبَ occurs in contrast to صَدَّقَ and the word تَوَلّٰی occurs in contrast to صَلّٰی. In other words, what was befitting for them was to testify to the Messenger and to the Hereafter and spend in the way of God and offer the prayer to Him; however, they belied the Hereafter and became indifferent.

The verse ثُمَّ ذَہَبَ اِلٰۤی اَہۡلِہٖ یَتَمَطّٰی portrays this indifference and a little deliberation will show that the reason for this indifference has also been referred to in it: When people whose wealth and children have made them arrogant are reminded to fear God and the Hereafter, such reminders have no effect on them. They think that their affluence and abundance in family members is a sure sign of them being on the right path. For this reason, they do not entertain the reminders of people who try to point out their folly. Instead of being influenced by such reminders, they conceitedly take a walk to their family taking their prosperity and riches to be a clear sign of their correctness. Moreover, they go so far as to think that the real fault lies in people who are themselves bereft of prosperity yet are sounding such reminders and admonitions.

Here one should keep in mind what the Qur'an mentions very frequently in various styles: the believers live amongst their family members continuously fearing the Almighty lest they are not able to properly care for the family and in this way earn God's wrath in any way. This sense of responsibility on the part of the believers is expressed thus in the Qur'an: قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّا کُنَّا قَبۡلُ فِیۡۤ اَہۡلِنَا مُشۡفِقِیۡنَ (26:52)(they will say: "we have always remained fearful in the matter of our family," (52:26)). Exactly opposite is the attitude of people whose hearts are devoid of God's fear. They regard their family to be a source of pride and conceit and as a clear sign of their good fortune. For this reason, they are in the state of inebriation mentioned in the anecdote of the companion of an orchard in Surah al-Kahf in these words:

مَاۤ اَظُنُّ اَنۡ تَبِیۡدَ ہٰذِہٖۤ اَبَدًا (35:18) (I don't reckon that this will ever perish! (18:35)). The mentality of such people is mentioned thus in Surah al-Mutaffifin:وَ اِذَا انۡقَلَبُوۡۤا اِلٰۤی اَہۡلِہِمُ انۡقَلَبُوۡا فَکِہِیۡنَ (83: 31) (and when they would return to their people, they would return engrossed, (83:31)).

In the verses: اَوۡلٰی لَکَ فَاَوۡلٰی. ثُمَّ اَوۡلٰی لَکَ فَاَوۡلٰی, the word اَوۡلٰی is from ويل which is used for expressing anger, reproach, and hatred. In classical Arabic, this word is used abundantly. For example, Khansa' says:

هممت بنفسي كل الهموم

فأولي لنفسي أولي لها

(I made many intentions about my soul; what a pity on my soul; what a pity.)[14]

Some Urdu translators have translated it as "befitting" which is against Arabic principles and also not in accordance with the context.

In the previous verses, the address was indirect. Here in these verses the address has become direct. This change in address is to express sorrow and hatred. I have alluded to this aspect at various places in this exegesis.

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﴾[15]

Here in these verses, the surah ends on the subject with which it began. In the beginning it was said:اَیَحۡسَبُ الۡاِنۡسَانُ اَلَّنۡ نَّجۡمَعَ عِظَامَہٗ .بَلٰی قٰدِرِیۡنَ عَلٰۤی اَنۡ نُّسَوِّیَ بَنَانَہٗ .(75: 3-4)(does man think that We will not be able to bring together his bones? Why not? We can put him together even his very finger-sections, (75: 3-4)). After that, the discourse had shifted to man's arrogance, his deliberate concealment of the truth and to the portrayal of the horrific events of the Day of Judgement. Now, here at the end, this question is raised again and answered: do people who express their doubt on being raised to life again after death think that man will be left unaccountable? If leaving him unaccountable is against the justice and wisdom of the Almighty, how will re-creating him again be difficult for the Almighty? Does he not reflect on the various stages of his creation. His creation begins with a drop of fluid being poured forth in the mother's womb. The passive tense in the word يُمْنَي points to a lack of attention and any elaborate arrangement. The person who pours it forth has nothing more to do with it after this act; he has no knowledge of what happens to it and what it undergoes. All later changes and developments in it are done by providence which, with remarkable creativity, makes it pass through various stages encompassed in layers of darkness. The drop of fluid becomes a clot of blood. Then it is brought into shape and later perfected. Finally, it emerges in the form of a man or a woman. In all these stages, it is providence which fashions and moulds it; no one else has any role in this. Therefore, man needs to realize that the God Whose signs of power, wisdom and creativity can be so abundantly seen in this way in a human being, is amply capable of recreating him once he dies.

With the grace of God, with these lines, I come to the end of this surah's exegesis. و له الحمد في الدنيا و الآخرة (gratitude be to Him in this world and in that to come)


19th January, 1979 AD

19th Safr, 1399 AH

[1].Hamid al-Din Farahi, Majmu'ah tafasir, 2nd ed. (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1998), 211-212.

[2]. Ibid., 212-213.

[3]. Ibid., 213.

[4].Certainly not! In fact you people only love this world and are heedless of the life to come.

[5]. 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.

[6]. Sa'id al-Khuri Shartuni,Aqrab al-mawarid fi fusahi al-'arabiyyah wa al-shawarid, 1st ed., vol. 5 (Tehran: Dar al-uswah, 1416 AH), 432.

[7]. Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn 'Umar al-Zamakhashari, Al-Kashshaf 'an haqa'iq al-tanzil wa 'uyun al-aqawil fi wujuh al-ta'wil, vol. 4 (Beirut: Dar ihya' al-turath al-'arabi, n.d), 664.

[8].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.

[9]. Farahi, Majmu'ah Tafasir, 215-218.

[10]. Muhammad ibn Mukarram ibn Manẓur, Lisan al-'arab, 1st ed., vol. 13 (Beirut: Dar sadir, n.d.), 333.

[11]. 'Abd al-Qadir ibn 'Umar al-Baghdadi, Khazanah al-adab wa lubb lubab lisan al-'arab, 1st ed., vol. 8 (Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-'ilmiyyah, 1998), 311.

[12]. Abu al-Faraj 'Ali ibn al-Husayn al-Asbahani, Kitab al-aghani, vol. 16 (Lebanon: Dar al-fikr li al-taba'ah wa al-nashr, n.d.), 71.

[13].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! Yet again woe be to you!

[14]. Abu al-Faraj al-Asbahani, Kitab al-aghani, vol. 9, 114.

[15].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?


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