Surah 79. An-Nazi'at, Ayah 1

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وَالنَّازِعَاتِ غَرْقًا

Asad : CONSIDER those [stars] that rise only to set,1
Malik : By those angels who violently pull out the souls of the wrongdoers,
Pickthall : By those who drag forth to destruction,
Yusuf Ali : By the (angels) who tear out (the souls of the wicked) with violence; 5916 5917
Transliteration : WaalnnaziAAati gharqan
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Asad 1 For my rendering of the adjurative particle wa as "Consider", see first half of note [23] on 74:32. - The early commentators differ widely in their explanations of verses {1-5} of this surah. The most popular interpretation is based on the view that the descriptive participles an-nazi'at, an-nashitat, as-sabihat, as-sabiqat and al-mudabbirat refer to angels and their activities with regard to the souls of the dying: an interpretation categorically rejected by Abu Muslim al-Isfahani, who - as mentioned by Razi - points out that the angels are never referred to in the Qur'an in the female gender, as is the case in the above five participles, and that the present passage cannot be an exception. Almost equally unconvincing - because somewhat laboured - are the explanations which link those five participles to the souls of the dying, or to warriors engaged in holy war, or to war-mounts, and so forth. The clearest and simplest interpretation is that advanced by Qatadah (as quoted by Tabari and Baghawi) and Al-Hasan al-Basri (quoted by Baghawi and Razi), who maintain that what is meant in this passage are the stars - including the sun and the moon - and their movements in space: and this interpretation is fully in tune with many other passages in the Qur'an in which the harmony of those celestial bodies in their multiform orbits and graded speeds is cited as an evidence of God's planning and creativeness. In accordance with this interpretation, the participle an-nazi'at occurring in the first verse denotes the daily "ascending" or "rising" of the stars, while their subsequent "setting" is indicated by the expression gharqan, which comprises the two concepts of "drowning," (i.e., disappearing) and, tropically, of the "completeness" of this daily phenomenon (Zamakhshari).

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Yusuf Ali   
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Yusuf Ali 5916 The beginning of this Sura may be compared with the beginning of S. lxxvii. A translator's task in such passages is extremely difficult. He has to contend, again and again, with verities of a realm beyond man's normal range of experience expressed in elliptical language and he has to render them in another language with words of precision intelligible to readers. It is therefore necessary for him to put in part of the Commentary in the Translation in such cases. The evidence of five things is here invoked in verses 1-5, in order to lead to the conclusion in verse 6 and those following. Or, if we treat verses 3-5 as three stages of the same thing, there are three things to be considered in five stages. What are they? And what is the conclusion? See the following notes.
Yusuf Ali   
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Yusuf Ali 5917 'There is much difference of opinion among the Commentators as to the five things or beings mentioned in these verses. I follow the general opinion in my interpretation, which is that angels are referred to as the agency which in their dealings with mankind show clearly Allah's Justice, Power, and Mercy, which again point to the Judgment to come, as a certainty which none can evade. The first point, referred to in this verse, is that the souls of the wicked are loath to part with their material body at death, but their will will not count: their souls will be wrenched out into another world. Who will then deny Resurrection and Judgment?