What is meant by 'Ma'ishatan Danka' in the verse 20:124?
Below is given the text of the verse followed by a simple translation:
The phrase 'مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا' connotes a life full of difficulties and hardships. Amin Ahsan Islahi a famous exegete of the Holy Qur'an explains:
وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَن ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا وَنَحْشُرُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَعْمَى
But he who turns away from remembrance of Me, his will be a narrow life, and I shall bring him blind to the assembly on the Day of Resurrection. (20:124)
'مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا' means a constricted life lacking in equanimity and poise; full of worries and devoid of satisfaction of heart. The Almighty says that whoever forgets Him will have to live a life of dissatisfaction full of worries and will be raised blind on the Day of Judgment. The reason why he will not experience peace of mind and satisfaction at heart in his life is because humans cannot find satisfactory explanation of their own existence, and of the universe, unless they believe in the Almighty.1
1. Islahi, Amin Ahsan, Tadabbur-i-Qur'an, 1st ed., vol. 5, (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1983), pp. 102-3