Sūrah Tūr (Part 1/2)

Sūrah Tūr (Part 1/2)


Qur'ānic Exegesis

Central Theme and Relationship with the Previous Sūrah

This is the third sūrah of this group. In both the previous sūrahs – Qāf and Dhāriyāt– intellectual and historical arguments as well as those from the world within man and that out outside him are mentioned to substantiate death and the reward and punishment which will take place on the Day of Judgement. The style is general ie. it includes both reward and punishment. Consequently in SūrahDhāriyātthe following verse represents its central theme: إِنَّمَا تُوعَدُونَ لَصَادِقٌ وَإِنَّ الدِّينَ لَوَاقِعٌ (51: 5-6) (the punishment you are being threatened with is true and indeed reward and punishment shall certainly take place, (61:5-6). While explaining these verses, I have written that they comprise both reward and punishment whether it relates to mercy or to torment. In this sūrah, the aspect of torment is highlighted more. Consequently, after pointing towards historical arguments as well as arguments which relate to the world around man, the Quraysh are threatened very clearly in the words: إِنَّ عَذَابَ رَبِّكَ لَوَاقِعٌ مَا لَهُ مِنْ دَافِعٍ (7-8) (indeed, the punishment of your Lord is certain to come; no one shall be able to avert it, (52:7-8)). It is this threat which also occupies the status of the complement of oath and also signifies its central theme.

Analysis of the Discourse

With relation to its meaning, the sūrah can be divided into the following three sections:

Verses (1-16)

This section forms the introductory part of the sūrah. The headstrong and obstinate people of Quraysh are first severely warned by citing certain historical and universal facts as evidence that the punishment which they have been threatened with is certain to come. They should not ask to hasten it and if they do not change their attitude, it will definitely alight and no one will be able to avert it. The next few verses draw a vivid picture of the Day of Judgement, with a brief description of the dreadful fate of those who had denied it.

Verses (17-28)

A portrayal of the favours of the life of bliss the believers will be blessed with in contrast with that of the disbelievers is made. A special favour which is highlighted here is that the Almighty will reunite those who brought up their children in accordance with the requisites of the Hereafter with their children even if these children were not entitled to this high level as regards their own deeds. For this union, those who deserve a high rank and level will not be demoted; instead people deserving a lower rank will be promoted to a higher one. Basically, the fate of a person will be decided according to his deeds; therefore, neither a reduction will take place in a person's deeds nor will a faithless person be able to enter Paradise; indeed, the Almighty's blessings will be for the believers.

Verses (29-49)

In the concluding part of the sūrah, the Prophet (sws) is comforted that he should not pay any heed to the excuses invented by the disbelievers in order to deny his prophethood. Ignoring their attitude, he should keep on discharging his duty of reminding people of the truth so that those who are mindful are able to adopt the right path and those who insist on remaining on the wrong path have no excuse but defiance to remain so.

In the twelfth verse, the attitude of the adversaries of indulging in pleasantries and toying with the truth was referred to. Here they are dealt with in detail and silenced on this behaviour.

Rebellious people are warned that very soon the time will come when all their schemes will be shattered, and before the torment of the Final Day, they will encounter another torment in this world also.

The Prophet (sws) is comforted that he should patiently await his Lord's decision, and should be aware that he is under His direct protection.

He should augment this patience through prayers, especially the night and early morning ones.

Text and Translation

Section I: Verses (1-28)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

وَالطُّورِ (1) وَكِتَابٍ مَسْطُورٍ (2). فِي رَقٍّ مَنْشُورٍ (3) وَالْبَيْتِ الْمَعْمُورِ (4) وَالسَّقْفِ الْمَرْفُوعِ (5). وَالْبَحْرِ الْمَسْجُورِ (6). إِنَّ عَذَابَ رَبِّكَ لَوَاقِعٌ (7). مَا لَهُ مِنْ دَافِعٍ (8). يَوْمَ تَمُورُ السَّمَاءُ مَوْرًا (9). وَتَسِيرُ الْجِبَالُ سَيْرًا (10). فَوَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلْمُكَذِّبِينَ (11). الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي خَوْضٍ يَلْعَبُونَ (12). يَوْمَ يُدَعُّونَ إِلَى نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ دَعًّا (13). هَذِهِ النَّارُ الَّتِي كُنتُمْ بِهَا تُكَذِّبُونَ (14). أَفَسِحْرٌ هَذَا أَمْ أَنْتُمْ لاَ تُبْصِرُونَ (15) اصْلَوْهَا فَاصْبِرُوا أَوْ لاَ تَصْبِرُوا سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْكُمْ إِنَّمَا تُجْزَوْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ (16). إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَنَعِيمٍ (17). فَاكِهِينَ بِمَا آتَاهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ وَوَقَاهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ عَذَابَ الْجَحِيمِ (18). كُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا هَنِيئًا بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ (19). مُتَّكِئِينَ عَلَى سُرُرٍ مَصْفُوفَةٍ وَزَوَّجْنَاهُمْ بِحُورٍ عِينٍ (20). وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَاتَّبَعَتْهُمْ ذُرِّيَّتُهُمْ بِإِيمَانٍ أَلْحَقْنَا بِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَمَا أَلَتْنَاهُمْ مِنْ عَمَلِهِمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ كُلُّ امْرِئٍ بِمَا كَسَبَ رَهِينٌ (21). وَأَمْدَدْنَاهُمْ بِفَاكِهَةٍ وَلَحْمٍ مِمَّا يَشْتَهُونَ (22). يَتَنَازَعُونَ فِيهَا كَأْسًا لاَ لَغْوٌ فِيهَا وَلاَ تَأْثِيمٌ (23). وَيَطُوفُ عَلَيْهِمْ غِلْمَانٌ لَهُمْ كَأَنَّهُمْ لُؤْلُؤٌ مَكْنُونٌ (24). وَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ (25). قَالُوا إِنَّا كُنَّا قَبْلُ فِي أَهْلِنَا مُشْفِقِينَ (26). فَمَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْنَا وَوَقَانَا عَذَابَ السَّمُومِ (27). إِنَّا كُنَّا مِنْ قَبْلُ نَدْعُوهُ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْبَرُّ الرَّحِيمُ (28).

In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the ever Merciful.

The Mount of Sinai bears witness and the scripture inscribed on a parchment unrolled. And the populated house and the lofty roof and the overflowing seas bear witness that indeed the punishment of your Lord is certain to come. No one shall be able to avert it. (1-8)

Remember the Day when the sky will totter and reel, and the mountains will fly hither and thither. Therefore, woe, on that Day, be to the deniers, who, toying around, engage in pleasantries. The Day when they shall be shoved and driven towards the Fire of Hell: This is the Hell you had been denying. Is this magic or are you blind? Enter into it. Whether you bear it or not, it is alike for you. You are being rewarded with you had been doing. (9-16)

Indeed, the righteous shall be in gardens and bliss, enjoying what their Lord would have granted them and enjoying the fact that their Lord has preserved them from the torment of Hell-fire. Eat and drink with relish as reward for the deeds you have done. They will be reclining on thrones arranged in rows and We would have wed them with large eyed houris. (17-20)

And those who had accepted faith, and their children had followed them in their faith, We shall unite their children with them and not even slightly diminish the reward of their deeds. Each individual shall be in pledge for his earning. And We shall continue to provide them the fruits and meat they like. Such cups of wine shall pass between them which will be free from sin and idle talk. And there shall wait upon them young boys like pearls preserved. (21-24)

They will turn towards one another asking about each other, saying: "Before this, we remained fearful about our families; so the Almighty has been gracious to us and has delivered us from the agony of the punishment of Hell. We used to invoke only Him before. Indeed, He is the keeper of His promises, Ever-Merciful." (25-28)

Explanation

وَالطُّورِ (1)[1]

The word وَ here signifies an oath and I have already explained at an appropriate place in this tafsīr that in the light of the research carried out by my mentor Imām Hamīd al-Dīn Farāhī in his Aqsām al-Qur'ān most oaths mentioned in the Qur'ān are meant to substantiate a claim that is stated as a muqsam 'alayh. As pointed out earlier, the muqsam 'alayh here is the verse

إِنَّ عَذَابَ رَبِّكَ لَوَاقِعٌ (7) (the punishment of your Lord is certain to come). Hence the oath sworn by the mount of Sinai is meant to substantiate this claim. Thus, keeping in view this aspect of the oath, I have translated the first verse as "Tūr bears witness" and in my opinion this translation is more meaningful.

The word Tūr refers to the mount of (Sinai) which has been mentioned in the Qur'ān in various aspects. It is in one of its sacred valleys Tuwā that Moses (sws) witnessed divine disclosures while coming back from Midian. It was here that he was blessed with prophethood and was directed to go to the Pharaoh and his people as a warner to them. He was to inform him that if he did not give up his rebellious attitude he, together with his people, would become a target of God's scourge. After the destruction of the Pharaoh, the Almighty called him to this very mountain to give him the Torah. When in his absence, his people were led astray and got involved in worshipping the calf, it was at the base of this mountain that he brought over the leaders of his people for collective repentance. On this occasion, the Almighty shook the whole mountain and informed the Israelites that if they did not abide by the covenant they were making with the Almighty by receiving His Book , they should remember that it is in His power to crush them below this very mountain.

Because of these multifarious features the mount Tūr is a great historical sign which substantiates this claim and is mentioned after oath. Thus, for this characteristic, it has been sworn by in Sūrah Tīn. I will inshallāh explain there that this oath is sworn to substantiate the claim of reward and punishment referred to here.

Some people have regarded the word طُّور to refer to a mountain in general. However, this view is not tenable for various reasons. Firstly, because the Qur'ān must be interpreted as per the conventional meanings of its words. It is possible that in the Hebrew and Syriac languages, it has this meaning; however, in Arabic, it is not commonly and conventionally used in this meaning. It is mentioned several times in the Qur'ān, and at each instance is used as a proper noun. Secondly, if it is interpreted to mean a mountain, it will bear no relationship with the muqsam 'alayh which is essential; otherwise the oath will become out of place.

وَكِتَابٍ مَسْطُورٍ (2)[2]

These words refer to the Torah. An evident indication for this is that it is mentioned adjacent to the mountain Tūr and it is known that it was here that the Almighty gave Moses (sws) this Book. The second indication is the expression رَقٍّ مَنْشُورٍ. The word رَقٍّ is used for thin parchment which was used for writing in ancient times. It is also evident from history that initially the Torah was written on clean hides which were folded up in the form of a scroll and was spread open at the time of recital. In the presence of these indications, there is no possibility that some other book be implied here. Some people have interpreted it to mean "record". However, this is out of place because presenting this as evidence is only useful in the world to come and not in this world.

The relationship of these words is also very evident with the muqsam 'alayh. Just as mount Tūr is a historical sign of the divine law of retribution, in a similar manner the Torah is a great historical record which mentions this divine law. Preserved in it are the details of how nations were dealt with by God under this law. A simple reading of this law will show that this law is in force ever since the times of Adam, and this persistent pattern shows that it will continue until the time when a day arrives wherein God's justice will completely and totally manifest itself. On that day, a person who has done the slightest evil will face its punishment and a person who has done the slightest good will be recompensed.

The fact that the word كِتَابٍ is not defined by a definite article is meant to heighten its grandeur. The reason for this is that before the Qur'ān, it was the Torah which the Almighty had revealed for the guidance of people and whose basic directives were given by God to Moses (sws) in written form. Before this, most of the guidance given by the Prophets to their people was oral in nature. It was with the Torah that writing down all the teachings of the prophets began. For this reason, it is mentioned here with great emphasis. I will explain in the tafsīrs of Sūrah Rahmān and Sūrah 'Alaq the various aspects of conclusively delivering the truth which as a result of this instruction by the pen have come into being.

فِي رَقٍّ مَنْشُورٍ (3)[3]

The word رَقٍّ has been explained above. The fact that this Book is preserved in spread out pages is meant to convey its conclusive communication of the truth: nothing is concealed in it; everything is openly available in its spread out sheets and anyone can read it. He who cannot read it can listen to it being recited. In fact, he has the right to demand from the bearers of this Book to tell and to read out to him what is written in this Book.

Here it needs to be kept in consideration that the people of Arabia would acknowledge the superiority of the People of the Book in religious matters. On this basis, the Qur'ān at many instances has directed them to ask from the People of the Book what they do not know. Moreover, it is also a fact the Torah also recorded the history of Abraham (sws) and Ishmael (sws) and the people of Arabia also claimed that they had inherited from these same forefathers the religion they practiced. So there is a subtle reference in this verse that they can find out from this book whether their forefathers warned them of the Day of reward and punishment or not.

The word مَنْشُور also carries a subtle aspersion on the Jews of the times of the Prophet (sws). It is mentioned at many instances in the Qur'ān that the Jews would hide many things mentioned in their scriptures. This malady of concealing the truth developed in the Jews in their times of decadence. One of the main reasons for its development was that they did not want people to know of the predictions mentioned in the Torah regarding the advent of the last Prophet (sws). In these predictions, they were threatened that if they denied this prophet, they would invite God's wrath and be deprived of their position of leadership. By mentioning this word, the Jews are reminded of the real status of the Torah: it was housed in clean and pure spread out pages so that people should read it and understand it and so that all of its pages were always displayed to people; however, because of their wretchedness they concealed the Torah. It was due to this attitude of theirs that Jesus (sws) addressed them in the following words: "You had been given a lamp so that you place it at a high place in your home so that its light spreads in the whole house but you have hidden it under a cup."[4]

وَالْبَيْتِ الْمَعْمُورِ (4)[5]

Generally our exegetes have interpreted this expression to refer to a house in Paradise which to angels has the same status in the heavens as the one given to the Baytullah on this earth for human beings. In my opinion, this view has no bearing on the meaning of this expression. If there is such a house in Paradise, then what weight does its evidence carry in favour of the claim which is presented after this oath? Since our exegetes wrongly think that oaths are always sworn by sacred objects, they try to look for some sacred element in such objects. However, in this regard, the real thing is not the sacredness of the objects of oath but the way they bear evidence on a claim. If reflected thus, one is unable to find such a relationship in this case.

Some people regard this expression to refer to the Baytullāh. This view is more tenable than the first. This is because an oath is sworn on the secure city (بلد أمين) in Sūrah Tīn to substantiate reward and punishment and since the Baytullāh is situated in this secure city, its bearing evidence does carry a meaning. However, the context rejects this view too. The reason for this is that after this, the lofty roof is sworn by. Obviously, this cannot refer to the roof of the Baytullāh. It can only refer to the heavens and our exegetes have also interpreted it thus. If it refers to the heavens, then swearing by the heavens after swearing by the Baytullāh and then swearing by the ocean look somewhat unrelated. It does not carry the harmony and accord which exists between the oaths sworn by the mount Tūr and the written book.

In my opinion, the expression الْبَيْتِ الْمَعْمُورِ refers to this earth extending over which is the roof of the sky. Many arguments can be presented in favour of this opinion.

Firstly, in my opinion, the expression الْبَيْتِ الْمَعْمُورِ is a very apt metaphor for the earth. The Qur'ān, at many instances, has called it مهاد and قرار etc. Moreover, by referring to the earth as the floor and the sky as the roof, it has very beautifully called their combination a house.

Secondly, after its mention, a reference to the sky clearly shows that it refers to the earth. Wherever in the Qur'ān attention is directed to great signs of the Almighty, the sky and the earth are mentioned together.

Thirdly, at many places, the Qur'ān has directed our attention to the fact that the various sources and resources the Almighty has made available in this earth bear witness to the fact that man is not unaccountable for what he does in this world; he is answerable to God. The word الْمَعْمُورِ refers to the resources found in the earth and, as a necessary corollary of these provisions, to the accountability a person will be liable for after benefiting from these resources.

Fourthly, in Sūrah Dhāriyāt, the previous sūrah, it was said: وَفِي الْأَرْضِ آيَاتٌ لِّلْمُوقِنِينَ (51: 20) (and in the earth and yourselves also are signs for those who have conviction, (51:20)andوَفِي السَّمَاء رِزْقُكُمْ وَمَا تُوعَدُونَ (51: 22) (and there is in the heavens your sustenance also and that too about which you are being threatened with, (51:22). While explaining these verses, I have alluded to the signs of the heavens and the earth which bear witness to the divine law of retribution and punishment. It is precisely on this premise that evidence is presented here too: only the style is different.

For these reasons, in my opinion, the word الْبَيْتِ refers to the earth and its qualification by the attribute الْمَعْمُور alludes to the signs and majesties of God relating to His power, wisdom and providence on the basis of which the Qur'ān at various instances has substantiated God's justice and His reward and punishment. I have explained these signs at appropriate places of this tafsīr.

وَالسَّقْفِ الْمَرْفُوعِ (5)[6]

After the earth, presented here is the evidence of the sky. The Qur'ān, in support of its claims, generally puts forth the signs of the sky together with those of the earth. Readers are advised to look up what I have written in Sūrah Dhariyāt with reference to the following verses and وَفِي السَّمَاء رِزْقُكُمْ وَمَا تُوعَدُونَ (51: 22) (and there is in the heavens your sustenance also and that too about which you are being threatened with, (51:22) and: وَالسَّمَاء ذَاتِ الْحُبُكِ (51: 7) (and the striped winter clouds bear witness,(51:7)). It will become evident from this how much role the sky, winds and clouds had in the destruction of nations which incurred the wrath of God.

The sky is mentioned in the Qur'ān with different attributes keeping in view the context and occasion. Here it is called the lofty roof. The word "roof" (سقْف) bears witness to the providence, graciousness and mercy of God: it is merely His grace that He has stretched this immense tent above our heads. The word "lofty" (مرفُوعِ) alludes to God's power, grandeur and greatness: what can be beyond the power of the being Who is capable of erecting such a roof. The various aspects through which both these attributes of God (providence and power) bear witness to the Hereafter and to reward and punishment have been explained at several places in this tafsīr.

وَالْبَحْرِ الْمَسْجُورِ (6)[7]

The verb سَجَرَ means "to become brimful". The expression سَجَرَ الرَّجُلُ التَّنُّوْر means "he filled the stove with fuel"; the expression سَجَرَ المَاءُ النَّهْرَ means "water became brimful in the canal".

After presenting the witness of the heavens and the earth, in this verse the biggest sign on the earth ie. the oceans are presented as witness. It should be kept in consideration that at other places in the Qur'ān also (eg. 55:10-24) after the signs of the heavens and the earth are alluded to the signs of the oceans are referred to. A reflection on these verses would reveal that man cannot count the signs of God's singularity, power, providence and retribution found in the oceans. I have elucidated these signs at several instances in this tafsīr. These discussions need to be looked up. Some important aspects will inshallāh be discussed in the tafsīr of Sūrah Rahmān. Here with respect to the central theme of the sūrah and the complement of oath, it should remain in consideration that the threatened torment after the oaths can historically be seen in the account of Noah's nation as well as in the fate of the Pharaoh. Both these nations were inflicted by an oceanic calamity the details of which are found both in the Torah and in the Qur'ān.

إِنَّ عَذَابَ رَبِّكَ لَوَاقِعٌ (7). مَا لَهُ مِنْ دَافِعٍ (8)[8]

These verses state the real claim after the oaths above, and it is this claim which forms the central theme of the sūrah as well. In the previous sūrah, this very claim was stated in slightly different words: إِنَّمَا تُوعَدُونَ لَصَادِقٌ وَإِنَّ الدِّينَ لَوَاقِعٌ (51: 5-6)(indeed, the punishment you are being threatened with is true and indeed reward and punishment shall certainly take place). The only difference is that in this sūrah the aspect of punishment is more prominent. While explaining إِنَّمَا تُوعَدُونَ لَصَادِقٌ in the previous sūrah, I had written that it refers to that punishment which the prophets of God warned of and that will be meted out both in this world and in the next. In this sūrah, the thing which was implicitly alluded to in the previous sūrah is elaborated upon. Elaborating upon what is stated in a concise manner first or explicitly mentioning something after its implicit mention is a very common style of the Qur'ān. Examples can be seen in the previous sūrahs.

While elucidating the oaths mentioned in this sūrah, I have explained how they bear witness to the claim the verses under discussion mention. Repetition is not needed. It is while referring to this evidence that the Prophet (sws) is addressed and told that the punishment with which he is threatening the Quraysh and which they are making fun of is bound to come; no one will be able to ward it off: neither will their own power and community be able to avert it nor will their alleged deities be able to save them; neither will any one bail them out in this world nor in the next. The Quraysh are urged to take heed from the signs mentioned in the earlier verses and told that all of them are enough to substantiate the claim. Thus what was given to Moses (sws) on mount Tūr, what is written in the scriptures of the Torah, the signs with which this earth is replete, the multifarious manifestations of God's power to which the blue sky bears witness and the signs which can be observed in the oceans all are sufficient to substantiate this claim. No other sign is required. If these are not able to open their eyes, nothing else will for even if they see a portion of the sky falling on to them, they will dance with glee thinking this torment to be rain-laden clouds. So much so, this calamity will destroy them and they will still not profess faith.

يَوْمَ تَمُورُ السَّمَاءُ مَوْرًا (9). وَتَسِيرُ الْجِبَالُ سَيْرًا (10). فَوَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلْمُكَذِّبِينَ (11). الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي خَوْضٍ يَلْعَبُونَ (12)[9]

This is a portrayal of the punishment: the sky which appears so stable, steady and strong in this world will start to reel and shake. The word مَوْر means "to move here and there uneasily and restlessly". In other words, one portion of the sky will move in one direction and the other in another one. Similarly, the mountains which are well grounded in their places will be uprooted and move uncontrollably. The implication is that when on that day this will be the condition of the sky and the mountains, what will happen to man? On that day, what use will anyone's power or community, castles and trenches be for him! Here it should be kept in mind that whenever the Quraysh were informed of an upheaval which would take place on the Day of Judgement, they would mockingly ask the Prophet (sws) about what would happen to the mountains; would they too be shattered? At another place, the Qur'ān has answered this question by asking the Prophet (sws) to inform them that his Lord will crush these mountains to pieces.

The words فَوَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلْمُكَذِّبِينَ mean that on that day death and perdition will be for those who are denying it today. The words الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي خَوْضٍ يَلْعَبُونَ mention a characteristic of these disbelievers which has brought the whole discourse in accordance with the situation. It thus becomes evident that it refers to the arrogant people among the Quraysh who were trying to tease and harass the Prophet (sws) and to render ineffective his warnings through their babble. Verse 29-46 ahead mentions the details.

The word خَوْضٍ means "to enter into something". The expression خاض الماء means "he entered the water". From this has originated the idiom وخاض القوم في الحديث . In general, this idiom means to argue and chatter to support an evil and defy a truth. It has occurred the Qur'an in this meaning at various instances. For example: وَخُضْتُمْ كَالَّذِي خَاضُواْ (69:9) (and like them, you have engaged in idle talk, (9:69)) and فَذَرْهُمْ يَخُوضُوا وَيَلْعَبُوا حَتَّى يُلَاقُوا يَوْمَهُمُ الَّذِي يُوعَدُونَ (42: 83) (so let them indulge in idle talk and babbling until they face that day of theirs which they are being threatened with, (42:83)).

In spite of being convinced of something, opposing it by trying to fabricate arguments against it is a form of playful attitude with one's own intellect as well as that of one's followers. For this reason, the Qur'ān has called this attitude لَعَبٌ(play). This attitude of making fun is dangerous in all circumstances; however, it becomes dangerous to the ultimate degree if eternal loss can be its result.

The details of this خَوْضٍ are coming up in the succeeding verses. They refer to the statements of the addressees which they utter against their conscience merely to undo the effect of the words of the Qur'ān and of the Prophet (sws) on the hearts of the people. For example, some of them would call him a soothsayer, some a poet, some a fabricator and some a bragger. Similarly, some others would claim that they too could present the discourse he was presenting. In short, to tease the Prophet (sws), each person would say anything that came to his mind. This opposing of the truth in this manner was mere entertainment to them. No one was bothered to think that this amusement could lead him and his people to eternal Hell.

يَوْمَ يُدَعُّونَ إِلَى نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ دَعًّا (13) هَذِهِ النَّارُ الَّتِي كُنتُمْ بِهَا تُكَذِّبُونَ (14)[10]

Mentioned in these verses are the calamities which such mischievous people will face on that day. The verb دَعًّmeans to push some one with full force and hatred, and later the word دَعًّا further emphasizes it. The implication is that today these people are busy in their pranks, but on that day they will be forcefully shoved towards Hell, and it will be said to them that this was the Hell they would make fun of and reject in the previous world.

أَفَسِحْرٌ هَذَا أَمْ أَنْتُمْ لاَ تُبْصِرُونَ (15)[11]

They are addressed and told that when in the previous world the messenger of God would warn them of Hell, they would regard these warnings of the Qur'an to be a magic of words in order to make themselves and their masses indifferent to it. Now, they should speak up whether this is a magical spell woven by words or is it a reality. However, just as in the previous world they were blind to it, today also they are not being able to see it.

اصْلَوْهَا فَاصْبِرُوا أَوْ لاَ تَصْبِرُوا سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْكُمْ إِنَّمَا تُجْزَوْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ (16)[12]

A divine declaration will bid them to enter Hell; there is no escape for them now. Whether they show patience or start shouting, both will be of no use to them: neither will patience save them nor shouts be able to provide relief to them. The words إِنَّمَا تُجْزَوْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ say that whatever they will be facing will be because of their own misdeeds. Had they been a target of an injustice and implored as a result, they should have expected their imploring to be answered; however, when their own misdeeds are shown to them, against what will they implore and from whom will they expect to receive an answer?

The words إِنَّمَا تُجْزَوْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ do not mean that all the deeds they did in the previous life will be shown to them in their exact form; it refers to their consequences. Whatever deed a person does in this world, whether good or bad, takes a special form before the Almighty with regard to its effects and consequences, and it is in this form that it will be shown to its doer. Though it will have a different form than the one it had in when it was done in the previous world but since it will be the harvest of the crop they had sown, the words express the fact that they are receiving the return for what they had done in the previous world.

إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَنَعِيمٍ (17)[13]

In order to bring out the severity of punishment which will be inflicted on the deniers (مُكَذِّبِينَ), the reward given to the righteous (مُتَّقِينَ) is mentioned here. The style of contrast adopted here shows that by the righteous (مُتَّقِينَ) those people are referred to who instead of making fun of the warnings of the Prophet (sws) carefully listened to them, reflected on them and held them very dear. Such righteous indeed will dwell in gardens and in bliss.

فَاكِهِينَ بِمَا آتَاهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ وَوَقَاهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ عَذَابَ الْجَحِيمِ (18)[14]

Coming up are the details of how the righteous will enjoy the gardens and bliss they will be blessed with. The vagueness found in بِمَا آتَاهُمْ bears witness to enhanced majesty: no one can imagine today what their Lord will grant them. Its extent can only be imagined when it will actually be received and only by those who are its recipients.

In my opinion the words وَوَقَاهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ are conjugated with بِمَا آتَاهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ. They will enjoy the overwhelming favours of their Lord and will be particularly happy that God by His grace saved them from the torment of Hell. The word فَاكِهِينَ itself encompasses the meaning of joy and acknowledging favour; hence a separate word is not required for this meaning. It is evident from this verse that on the Day of Judgement the righteous will regard God's greatest favour to be saved from the Hell these rejecters are making fun of today. Every inch of their being will be grateful for this. Further ahead in this sūrah, this subject is discussed thus:قَالُوا إِنَّا كُنَّا قَبْلُ فِي أَهْلِنَا مُشْفِقِينَ فَمَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْنَا وَوَقَانَا عَذَابَ السَّمُومِ (26-27) (they will say: "before this, we remained fearful about our families so the Almighty has been gracious to us and has delivered us from the agony of the punishment of Hell, (26-27)).




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