Surah Zilzal – Surah ‘Aadiyat

Surah Zilzal – Surah ‘Aadiyat

Qur'anic Exegesis

Both these surahs form a pair with regard to their subject-matter. The first surah warns the Quraysh of the situation that will arise on the Day of Judgment, while the second, with reference to this situation, warns them of the attitude they have adopted about God in spite of being blessed with His tremendous favours. 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-Zilzal is to warn the Quraysh that they should not remain in any sort of misconception about the Day of Judgement; nothing on that day shall remain hidden from God. All of man's deeds whether good or bad, small or big shall come before him with full certainty.

The theme of Surah al-'Adiyat is to inform the leadership of the Quraysh to observe the atmosphere of loot, plunder and insecurity around them. It is merely because of their relationship with the House of God that they are living peacefully in such surroundings. The favours they enjoy because of their relationship with this House entail that they express gratitude to God; however, they should contemplate the fate that they will encounter because of the attitude they have adopted.

Explanation Surah al-Zilzal

بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

اِذَا زُلۡزِلَتِ الۡاَرۡضُ زِلۡزَالَہَا ۙ﴿۱﴾وَ اَخۡرَجَتِ الۡاَرۡضُ اَثۡقَالَہَا ۙ﴿۲﴾وَ قَالَ الۡاِنۡسَانُ مَا لَہَا ۚ﴿۳﴾یَوۡمَئِذٍ تُحَدِّثُ اَخۡبَارَہَا ۙ﴿۴﴾ بِاَنَّ رَبَّکَ اَوۡحٰی لَہَا ؕ﴿۵﴾

یَوۡمَئِذٍ یَّصۡدُرُ النَّاسُ اَشۡتَاتًا ۬ۙ لِّیُرَوۡا اَعۡمَالَہُمۡ ؕ﴿۶﴾فَمَنۡ یَّعۡمَلۡ مِثۡقَالَ ذَرَّۃٍ خَیۡرًا یَّرَہٗ ؕ﴿۷﴾ وَ مَنۡ یَّعۡمَلۡ مِثۡقَالَ ذَرَّۃٍ شَرًّا یَّرَہٗ ﴿۸﴾

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

When the earth is shaken the way it will be shaken,[1] and when it casts forth its burdens.[2] And man shall cry out: "What is the matter with her?" On that day, she will narrate all her story[3] at the intimation of your Lord.[4] (1-5)

People on that day will emerge alone[5] so that their deeds can be shown to them. Then whoever has done the smallest bit of good, shall see it, and whoever has done the smallest bit of evil,shall also see it.[6] (6-8)

Surah al-'Adiyat

بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

وَ الۡعٰدِیٰتِ ضَبۡحًا ۙ﴿۱﴾فَالۡمُوۡرِیٰتِ قَدۡحًا ۙ﴿۲﴾فَالۡمُغِیۡرٰتِ صُبۡحًا ۙ﴿۳﴾فَاَثَرۡنَ بِہٖ نَقۡعًا ۙ﴿۴﴾ فَوَسَطۡنَ بِہٖ جَمۡعًا ۙ﴿۵﴾اِنَّ الۡاِنۡسَانَ لِرَبِّہٖ لَکَنُوۡدٌ ۚ﴿۶﴾وَ اِنَّہٗ عَلٰی ذٰلِکَ لَشَہِیۡدٌ ۚ﴿۷﴾ وَ اِنَّہٗ لِحُبِّ الۡخَیۡرِ لَشَدِیۡدٌ ؕ﴿۸﴾

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

Gasping galloping horses,[7] bear witness; then striking fire with their hooves,[8] then raiding at dawn,[9]then blazing a trail of dust in it[10] and with it, penetrating[11] into a throng[12] that [this] man [living in the peaceful surroundings of the Baytullah] is very ungrateful to his Lord.[13] And to this [attitude of his], he himself is a witness.[14] And, in fact, mad is he in the love of wealth.[15] (1-8)

اَفَلَا یَعۡلَمُ اِذَا بُعۡثِرَ مَا فِی الۡقُبُوۡرِ ۙ﴿۹﴾وَ حُصِّلَ مَا فِی الصُّدُوۡرِ ﴿ۙ۱۰﴾اِنَّ رَبَّہُمۡ بِہِمۡ یَوۡمَئِذٍ لَّخَبِیۡرٌ ﴿۱۱﴾

Then, is he not aware [of the time] when the graves are laid open and whatever is in the chests is taken out.[16] Indeed, their Lord on that day shall be well aware [of everything] of theirs. (9-11)

Kuala Lumpur

12th March 2010

(Translated from Al-Bayan by Dr Shehzad Saleem)

[1]. The actual words are: اِذَا زُلۡزِلَتِ الۡاَرۡضُ زِلۡزَالَہَا. The implication is that the way this calamity will take place in as great a heavenly body as the earth is beyond the imagination of people. This element has been incorporated in the verse not merely because of the occurrence of زِلۡزَالَ is an object of emphasis (maf'ul mutliq) but because of its annexure to the word earth.

[2]. The implication is that the earth will expel from within it all buried people, treasures as well as testimonies of crimes.

[3]. The actual word is: وحی. It means "to intimate" and "to indicate." It is used in this meaning at certain other instances in the Qur'an as well.

[4]. Ie., like the limbs of man, the earth too will speak out and rehearse its story. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

Whatever a person does in this world is either done upon or beneath the earth. As such, it must be regarded as the greatest witness to all his deeds. Just as the Almighty will endow man's limbs and organs with the faculty of speech to narrate his life's record and bear witness against him, the earth also will be made vocal by Him that it may also recount man's history. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 9, 493)

[5]. Ie., people will emerge from their graves alone and solitary; no one will be there with them. Neither any relative, nor friend, nor companion will come to their rescue. Also all their wealth and grandeur will not be there with them.

[6]. Ie., the deeds of a person will be shown to him in their minutest details. Then as is mentioned at another place in the Qur'an, those whose scales tilt the balance will be consigned to Paradise and those whose scales do not tilt the balance will be cast into Hell.

[7]. The actual word is: الۡعٰدِیٰتِ. It means "to run." It is evident from attributes mentioned ahead that it refers to horses.

[8]. This and the subsequent attributes are co-ordinated to one another by the particle ف. According to linguistic principles, this means that there is a sequence in these attributes and also that they qualify the same noun.

[9]. This has been said because the dawn was considered the most appropriate time to mount a raid on the enemy. It is for this reason that the dawn is referred to in the proclamation of واصباحا that would be shouted out loud at such instances. Also, for this very reason this word became a conventional word to signify attacks and raids.

[10]. The actual words are: فَاَثَرۡنَ بِہٖ نَقۡعًا. The بin بِہٖis an adverb of place (ظَرْف) and the antecedent of the pronoun in بِہٖ is the meaning of scampering that emanates from the word: مُغِیۡرٰت.

[11]. Ie., penetrating with the dust. The actual words are فَوَسَطۡنَ بِہٖ جَمۡعًا. In them, the letter ب is for مُلاَبَسَة (association) and the antecedent of the pronoun in بِہٖ is نَقۡعًا.

[12]. From the beginning of this verse, a portrayal of raids mounted on caravans and settlements to loot and plunder them is made. Except for the Quraysh no other tribe of the Arabs was secure from it.

[13]. The implication is that very ungrateful and wretched is the person who witnesses these plunders and raids in his surroundings day and night and knows that if he himself is secure from them, then it is because he is the custodian of the House of God; he also knows that without this House and the blessings he is reaping as a result, he too would have been subject to loot and plunder. In spite of seeing all this, he has taken to arrogance and is denying the God Who has afforded him all these favours.

[14]. Ie., this does not need any evidence. The testimony of his own conscience is enough for him. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

Things which are obvious requisites of human nature do not need any argument for proof. The greatest testimony in their favour is found in man's nature and his conscience. If he evades these things, it is not because he does not find any argument in their favour; it is because he finds them against his base desires and thus tries to find excuses to evade them. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 9, 493)

[15]. Ie., instead of being obsessed with a yearning for truth and justice, he is obsessed with the love of wealth. Thus it is this attitude which has led him to be ungrateful.

[16]. So that it is conclusively made known to everyone which deed was done with which intention and motive.


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