Surah Qari‘ah – Surah Takathur

Surah Qari‘ah – Surah Takathur


Qur'anic Exegesis

Both these surahs form a pair with regard to their subject-matter. The first surah warns its addressees of the situation that will arise on the Day of Judgement, while the second, with reference to this situation warns them of their attitude of indifference. Both surahs are directed at the leadership of the Quraysh. It is evident from their subject-matter that like the previous surahs they were also revealed in Makkah a little before the Prophet Muhammad's (sws) migration to Madinah in the phase of itmam al-hujjah of his preaching mission.

The theme of Surah al-Qari'ah is to inform people of the sudden arrival of the Day of Judgement which will be as sudden as an unexpected rap at the door; this upheaval will extract them from their graves and lead them to Paradise or Hell in according to their deeds.

The theme of Surah al-Takathur is to warn people with reference to the Day of Judgement that their desire of outdoing one another in the acquisition of wealth has distracted them from the greatest reality. Had they realized that this day of accountability was not far way, they would not have been indifferent to it.

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Explanation Surah Qari'ah

بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

اَلۡقَارِعَۃُ ۙ﴿۱﴾مَا الۡقَارِعَۃُ ۚ﴿۲﴾وَ مَاۤ اَدۡرٰىکَ مَا الۡقَارِعَۃُ ؕ﴿۳﴾

یَوۡمَ یَکُوۡنُ النَّاسُ کَالۡفَرَاشِ الۡمَبۡثُوۡثِ ۙ﴿۴﴾وَ تَکُوۡنُ الۡجِبَالُ کَالۡعِہۡنِ الۡمَنۡفُوۡشِ ؕ﴿۵﴾

فَاَمَّا مَنۡ ثَقُلَتۡ مَوَازِیۡنُہٗ ۙ﴿۶﴾فَہُوَ فِیۡ عِیۡشَۃٍ رَّاضِیَۃٍ ؕ﴿۷﴾ وَ اَمَّا مَنۡ خَفَّتۡ مَوَازِیۡنُہٗ ۙ﴿۸﴾فَاُمُّہٗ ہَاوِیَۃٌ ؕ﴿۹﴾وَ مَاۤ اَدۡرٰىکَ مَا ہِیَہۡ ﴿ؕ۱۰﴾نَارٌ حَامِیَۃٌ ﴿۱۱﴾

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful.

The Pounding One![1]

What is the Pounding One?!

What do you know what the Pounding One is?[2] (1-3)

On that day, people shall be like moths scattered about[3] and mountains like carded wool.[4] (4-5)

Then whose scales are heavy shall dwell in bliss and whose scales are light, the abyss shall be his abode.[5] And what do you understand what that is?[6] Blazing Fire! (6-11)

Surah al-Takathur

بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

اَلۡہٰکُمُ التَّکَاثُرُ ۙ﴿۱﴾حَتّٰی زُرۡتُمُ الۡمَقَابِرَ ؕ﴿۲﴾کَلَّا سَوۡفَ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۳﴾ثُمَّ کَلَّا سَوۡفَ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ؕ﴿۴﴾

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful.

The greed for abundance and outdoing others in this[7] distracted you until you reached the graves.[8] [No! This is nothing O People!][9] Nothing indeed! You shall soon come to know! [Listen] again, [this is nothing,] nothing indeed! You shall soon come to know![10] (1-4)

کَلَّا لَوۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ عِلۡمَ الۡیَقِیۡنِ ؕ﴿۵﴾لَتَرَوُنَّ الۡجَحِیۡمَ ۙ﴿۶﴾ثُمَّ لَتَرَوُنَّہَا عَیۡنَ الۡیَقِیۡنِ ۙ﴿۷﴾ثُمَّ لَتُسۡـَٔلُنَّ یَوۡمَئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِیۡمِ ﴿۸﴾

[You would never have been heedless to it;[11]] never indeed, had you known that you would surely see the fire of Hell,[12] then [known that] you would observe it by the certainty of sight, then you would certainly be questioned about all these favours [of the world] on that day.[13] (5-8)

(Translated from Al-Bayan by Dr Shehzad Saleem)

[1].The actual word is: اَلۡقَارِعَۃُ. It is one of the names of the Day of Judgement. It will come as suddenly as a person who comes suddenly at night and just as his rap on the door wakes up every one and catches them unaware, in a similar manner, this event will cause a great commotion in the whole of the universe.

The particular style adopted here has a ring of alarm about it in order to caution everyone to be on a vigil and anticipate the arrival of this disaster. It can be said that the immense turbulence which will be created at the advent of that Day is somewhat being created before its arrival by the very clamour of its name.(Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 9, 512)

[2].This style is meant to express sorrow and yearning. The implied meaning is: "Would that you knew! Alas, a pity; what will you know."

[3]. Ie., totally alone, isolated and strewn.

[4]. The actual word is: عِهْنٌ. It is used for wool which after having being carded and dyed has become ready for weaving.The comparison here is not of the colour but of the state in which they have become scattered and dispersed. The implication is that just as in the case of carded wool each fibre is completely set asunder, so shall be each particle of a mountain.

[5]. The actual word is اُمٌّ and one may note how eloquently it has been used.

[6]. The actual words are: وَ مَاۤ اَدۡرٰىکَ مَا ہِیَہۡ. The هat the end of the word مَا ہِیَہۡ is of saktah to maintain the rhyme of the verses.

[7]. The actual word is: تَکَاثُرٌ. It means "to outdo one another in the abundance of wealth and children." The Qur'an has used this word because in the culture of those times, affluence and authority was based on these two things; however, the purport is the one I have expressed in the translation.

[8]. Ie., distracted them from God and the Hereafter and they did not even bother to think that if there is a God and if He does call them to account one day, how will they save themselves from Him?

[9]. The implication is that the life of this world is nothing; it is a deception for the eyes. Satan has lured them into it.

[10]. 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)

[11]. The words لَوۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ عِلۡمَ الۡیَقِیۡنِ occur ahead. They occur with the particle لَوۡ. This parenthetical expression is actually the answer to the conditional clause (apodosis) of this particle which the Qur'an has suppressed as a requisite of eloquence. Till the end of the surah, all verses are governed by this particle. There are many instances in the Qur'an in which the apodosis is suppressed where it is clearly understood to have been present.

[12]. Ie., knew in the light of the arguments in favour of reward and punishment drawn from the world inside and outside man and which have been stated by the Qur'an that one day Hell will be encountered. It is evident from this that intellectual arguments can only make us reach a certain reality by reflecting on the arguments that lead to it ('ilm al-yaqin). As far as observing a reality is concerned ('ayn al-yaqin), this will only be possible in the Hereafter, as is specified by the verse ahead.

[13]. A natural obligation a person owes to these favours is that he be held accountable for them. Imam Amin Ahan Islahi writes:

… A person's eyes, ears, heart, brain, and indeed all his organs and limbs are a blessing of God. Similarly, all the latent and apparent skills and abilities that he has been blessed with, as well as all his means and resources are a gift of God. It is the natural right of these blessings that God should be thanked for this bestowal, and that they should be used within the limits prescribed by Him. At the same time, a person must not become so possessed with them that he actually starts worshipping them, forgetting the real Creator. Those who commit such excesses will be severely dealt with on the Day of Judgement. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 9, 525)

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