A challenger1 has demanded a punishment bound to come
for the disbelievers—to be averted by none—
from Allah, Lord of pathways of ˹heavenly˺ ascent,
˹through which˺ the angels and the ˹holy˺ spirit1 will ascend to Him on a Day fifty thousand years in length.2
So endure ˹this denial, O Prophet,˺ with beautiful patience.
They truly see this ˹Day˺ as impossible,
but We see it as inevitable.
On that Day the sky will be like molten brass
and the mountains like ˹tufts of˺ wool.
And no close friend will ask ˹about˺ their friends,
˹although˺ they will be made to see each other. The wicked will wish to ransom themselves from the punishment of that Day by their children,
their spouses, their siblings,
their clan that sheltered them,
and everyone on earth altogether, just to save themselves.
But no! There will certainly be a raging Flame
ripping off scalps.
It will summon whoever turned their backs ˹on Allah˺ and turned away ˹from the truth˺,
and gathered and hoarded ˹wealth˺.
Indeed, humankind was created impatient:
distressed when touched with evil,
and withholding when touched with good—
except those who pray,
consistently performing their prayers;
and who give the rightful share of their wealth
to the beggar and the poor;
and who ˹firmly˺ believe in the Day of Judgment;
and those who fear the punishment of their Lord—
˹knowing that˺ none should feel secure from their Lord’s punishment—
and those who guard their chastity1
except with their wives or those ˹bondwomen˺ in their possession,1 for then they are free from blame,
but whoever seeks beyond that are the transgressors.
˹The faithful are˺ also those who are true to their trusts and covenants;
and who are honest in their testimony;
and who are ˹properly˺ observant of their prayers.
These will be in Gardens, held in honour.
So what is the matter with the disbelievers that they rush ˹head-long˺ towards you ˹O Prophet˺,
from the right and the left, in groups ˹to mock you˺?1
Does every one of them expect to be admitted into a Garden of Bliss?
But no! Indeed, they ˹already˺ know what We created them from.1
So, I do swear by the Lord of ˹all˺ the points of sunrise and sunset1 that We are truly capable
of replacing them with ˹others˺ better than them, and We cannot be prevented ˹from doing so˺.
So let them indulge ˹in falsehood˺ and amuse ˹themselves˺ until they face their Day, which they have been threatened with—
the Day they will come forth from the graves swiftly, as if racing to an idol ˹for a blessing˺,1
with eyes downcast, utterly covered with disgrace. That is the Day they have ˹always˺ been warned of.
According to 8:32, An-Naḍr ibn Al-Ḥârith challenged Allah, saying, “If this is indeed the truth from You, then rain down stones upon us from the sky or overcome us with a painful punishment.”
The holy spirit is the angel Gabriel.
Judgment Day will seem like 50 000 years for a disbeliever, but it will seem like a very short period for a believer. The Prophet (ﷺ) is reported in a ḥadîth collected by Imâm Aḥmed to have said that, for the believer, this long period will be like the time they took to perform a single prayer in the world.
lit., private parts.
See footnote for 4:3.
Some Meccan pagans used to gather around the Prophet (ﷺ) to mock him and the believers, saying that if there is in fact a Hereafter, they are better entitled to Paradise than the poor believers.
i.e., from a humble fluid. See 32:8.
The daily points of sunrise and sunset, caused by the earth’s rotation around its own axis.
Or “… as if rushing towards a target.”