The hour (of Judgment) is nigh and the moon is cleft asunder. 5127 5128
But if they see a Sign they turn away and say "This is (but) transient magic." 5129
They reject (the warning) and follow their (own) lusts but every matter has its appointed time. 5130
There have already come to them Recitals wherein there is (enough) to check (them) 5131
Mature wisdom but (the preaching of) Warners profits them not.
Therefore (O Prophet) turn away from them. The day that the Caller will call (them) to a terrible affair. 5132 5133
They will come forth their eyes humbled from (their) graves (torpid) like locusts scattered abroad 5134
Hastening with eyes transfixed towards the Caller! "Hard is this Day!" the Unbelievers will say.
Before them the People of Noah rejected (their apostle): they rejected Our servant and said "Here is one possessed!" and he was driven out. 5135
Then he called on his Lord: "I am one overcome: do thou then help (me)!" 5136
So We opened the gates of heaven with water pouring forth.
And We caused the earth to gush forth with springs so the waters met (and rose) to the extent decreed. 5137
But We bore him on an (Ark) made of broad planks and caulked with palm-fibre: 5138
She floats under Our eyes (and care): a recompense to one who had been rejected (with scorn)! 5139
And We have left this as a Sign (for all time): then is there any that will receive admonition? 5140 5141
But how (terrible) was My Penalty and My Warning? 5142
And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition? 5143
The `Ad (people) (too) rejected (Truth): then how terrible was my Penalty and my Warning!
For We sent against them a furious wind on a Day of violent Disaster 5144
Plucking out men as if they were roots of palm-trees torn up (from the ground).
Yea how (terrible) was my Penalty and my Warning! 5145
But We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?
The Thamud (also) rejected (their) Warners.
For they said: "what! a man! a solitary one from among ourselves! shall we follow such a one? Truly should we then be straying in mind and mad! 5146 5147
"Is it that the Message is sent to him of all people amongst us? Nay he is a liar an insolent one!" 5148
Ah! they will know on the morrow which is the liar the insolent one!
For We will send the she camel by way of trial for them. So watch them (O Saleh) and possess thyself in patience! 5149
And tell them that the water is to be divided between them: each one's right to drink being brought forward (by suitable turns). 5150
But they called to their companion and he took a sword in hand and hamstrung (her).
Ah! how (terrible) was My Penalty and My Warning!
For We sent against them a single Mighty Blast and they became like the dry stubble used by one who pens cattle. 5151 5152
And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?
The People of Lut rejected (his) Warning. 5153
We sent against them a violent tornado with showers of stones (which destroyed them) except Lut's household: them We delivered by early Dawn 5154
As a Grace from Us: Thus do We reward those who give thanks. 5155
And (Lut) did warn them of Our Punishment but they disputed about the Warning. 5156
And they even sought to snatch away his guests from him but We blinded their eyes. (They heard:) "now taste ye My Wrath and My Warning." 5157
Early on the morrow an abiding Punishment seized them:
"So taste ye My Wrath and My Warning."
And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?
To the people of Pharaoh too aforetime came Warners (from Allah). 5158
The (people) rejected all Our Signs; but We seized them with such Penalty (as comes) from One Exalted in Power able to carry out His Will.
Are your Unbelievers (O Quraish) better than they? or have ye an immunity in the Sacred Books? 5159
Or do they say: "We acting together can defend ourselves"?
Soon will their multitude be put to flight and they will show their backs.
Nay the Hour (of Judgment) is the time promised them (for their full recompense): And that Hour will be Most grievous and most bitter. 5160
Truly those in sin are the ones straying in mind and mad. 5161
The day they will be dragged through the Fire on their faces (they will hear:) "Taste ye the touch of Hell!" 5162
Verily all things have We created in proportion and measure. 5163
And Our command is but a single (Act) like the twinkling of an eye. 5164
And (oft) in the past have We destroyed gangs like unto you: Then is there any that will receive admonition? 5165 5166
All that they do is noted in (their) Books (of Deeds): 5167
Every matter small and great is on record.
As to the Righteous they will be in the midst of Gardens and Rivers. 5168
In an Assembly of Truth in the Presence of a Sovereign Omnipotent. 5169 5170 5171
See para 2 of the Introduction to S. liii. The idea of the Judgment being nigh at the beginning of this Sura connects it with the same idea at the end of the last Sara (verse 57), though the actual words used in the two cases are different.
Three explanations are given in the Mufradat, and perhaps all three apply here: (1) that the moon once appeared cleft asunder in the valley of Makkah within sight of the Prophet, his Companions, and some Unbelievers; (2) that the prophetic past tense indicates the future, the cleaving asunder of the moon being a Sign of the Judgment approaching; and (3) that the phrase is metaphorical, meaning that the matter has become clear as the moon. That the first was noticed by contemporaries, including Unbelievers, is clear from verse 2. The second is an incident of the disruption of the solar system at the New Creation: Cf. lxxv. 8-9.
Mustamirr: continuous, or powerful; either meaning will apply. The Unbelievers acknowledge the unusual appearance, but call it magic. They do not therefore profit by the spiritual lesson.
The prevalence of sin and the persecution of truth may have its day, but it must end at last.
The stories of the sins of past generations having been visited with exemplary punishments were already in their possession, and should, if they had been wise, have opened their eyes and checked them in their mad career of sin. Five of these stories are again referred to later in this Sura by way of illustration.
For a time godlessness seems to triumph, but the triumph is short-lived, And in any case there is the great Reckoning of the Day of Judgment.
The angel whose voice will call at the Resurrection and direct all souls. Cf. xx. 108-111.
At one stage in the invasion of locust swarms, the locusts are torpid and are scattered abroad all over the ground. I have seen them on railway tracks in 'Iraq, crushed to death in hundreds by passing trains. The simile is apt for the stunned beings who will rise up in swarms from their graves and say, "Ah! woe unto us! who has raised us up?" (xxxvi. 52).
The story of Noah and the Flood is frequently referred to in the Qur-an. The passage which best illustrates this passage will be found in xi. 25-48. Note in that passage how they first insult and abuse him arrogantly; how he humbly argues with them; how they laugh him to scorn, as much as to say that he was a madman possessed of some evil spirit; and how the Flood comes and he is saved in the Ark, and the wicked are doomed to destruction.
He asked for help in his mission, as he felt himself overpowered by brute force and cast out, which prevented the fulfilment of his mission. But the wicked generation were past all repentance, and they were wiped out.
The torrents of rain from above combined with the gush of waters from underground springs, and caused a huge Flood which inundated the country.
Dusur, plural of disar, which means the palm-fibre with which boats are caulked: from dasara, to ram in, to spear. A derived meaning is "nails", (which are driven into planks): this latter meaning also applies, and is preferred by translators not familiar with the construction of simple boats.
As usual, Allah's Mercy in saving His faithful servants takes precedence of His Wrath and Penality. And He helps and rewards those whom the world rejects and despises!
Cf. xxix. 15, where the Ark (with the salvation it brought to the righteous) is mentioned as a Sign for all Peoples. So also in xxv, 37 and xxvi. 121, it is a Sign for men. Similarly the saving of Lot, with the destruction of the wicked Cities of the Plain, is mentioned as a Sign left for those who would understand: xxix. 35, and li. 37.
A refrain that occurs six times in this Sura: see Introduction.
While the Mercy of Allah is always prominently mentioned, we must not forget or minimise the existence of Evil, and the terrible Penalty it incurs if the Grace of Allah and His Warning are deliberately rejected.
While the Qur-an sums up the highest philosophy of the inner life, its simple directions for conduct are plain and easy to understand and act upon. Is this not in itself a part of the Grace of Allah? And what excuse is there for any one to fail in receiving admonition?
Cf. xli. 16. How graphic is the description of the tornado that uprooted them! It must indeed be a dreadful tornado that plucks up the palm-trees by their deep tap-roots. The "Day" is an indefinite period of time. The wind that destroyed the 'Ad people lasted seven nights and eight days: lxix. 7.
Repeated from verse 18 to heighten the description of the sin, the penalty, and the criminal negligence of the sinners in refusing the warnings on account of their self- complacent confidence in their own strength and stability! It is repeated again as a secondary refrain in liv. 30 and (with slight modification) in liv. 32 and 39.
The psychology of the Thamud is more searchingly analysed here than in xli. 17, to show up the contrast between shallow men's ideas about Revelation, and the real sanity, humanism, social value, and truth of Revelation. To them the Revelation was brought by Salih.
Because the Prophet is one among so many, and different from them, although brought up among themselves, it is made a cause of reproach against him, when it should have been an index leading to a searching of their hearts and an examination of their ways.
Pure abuse, as a contrast to Salih's expostulation! See xxvi. 141-158, and notes.
See n. 1044 to vii. 73, for the she-camel as a trial or test case among selfish people who tried to monopolise water and pasture as against the poor.
See xxvi. 155-156. All were to have water in due turn. It was to be no one's monopoly. And certainly the gates were not to be shut against the poor or their cattle.
See n. 1047 to vii. 78, and Cf. the same phrase "single Blast" used for the signal for the Resurrection in xxxvi. 53. In the case of the Thamud, the destruction seems to have been by a severe earthquake accompanied with a terrible rumbling noise.
They became like dry sticks such as are used by herdsmen in making pens or enclosures for their cattle.
The story of Lot (Lut) and the Cities of the Plain has been frequently referred to. See xi. 74-83.
Hasib: a violent tornado bringing a shower of stones. The word occurs here; in xvii. 68 (without reference to any particular place); in xxix. 40 (where it seems to refer to Lot's Cities, see n. 3462); and in lxvii. 17 (where again there is no reference to a particular place). In Lot's Cities the shower was of brimstone: see xi. 82.
"Giving thanks" to Allah in Quranic phrase is to obey Allah's Law, to do His Will, to practise righteousness, to use all gifts in His service.
Cf. xi. 78-79.
Lot had been preaching to them some time against their iniquities. The crisis of their fate came when the two angels came to Lot in the guise of handsome young men. The men of the whole City came in an uproar, assaulted his house, and tried to snatch away the two handsome men. Lot tried to prevent them, but was powerless. Darkness fell on their eyes, as the first stage in their punishment, and before next morning the wicked cities were buried under a shower of brimstone. Lot and his believing household were saved.
The Egyptian people of old are the last people mentioned in this Sura as an example of iniquity meeting with punishment. And the moral is driven home to the Pagan Quraish, to warn them of their fate if they persisted in their evil lives. The Egyptians had many Signs given them. They were a gifted people and had made much progress in the sciences and the arts. They could have learnt from history that when the highest virtues disappear, the nation must fall. Moses was brought up among them and commissioned to give Allah's Message to them. But they were arrogant; they were unjust to Allah's creatures; they followed debasing forms of worship; they mocked at Truth; and were at last punished with destruction in the Red Sea for their arrogant leaders and army. See x. 75-90 for a narrative.
If the Egyptians with all their power and science were unable to resist the punishment of their sins, the Pagan Quraish are asked: how will you fare when you come to a trial of strength against Allah's Truth? You are not specially favoured so as to be immune from Allah's Law. And if you rely on your numbers, they will be a broken reed when the trial comes, as indeed happened at the Battle of Badr.
The calculations of unjust men-on their science, their resources, their numbers, etc.-will in many cases be falsified even in this world, as stated in the last two verses, but their real Punishment will come with Judgment, i.e., when they find their real place in the next world at the restoration of true values. It will then be a most grievous and bitter experience for them, throwing into the shade any calamities they may suffer in this life.
Cf. liv. 24 above. Note how the tables are turned in the argument by the repetition. The unjust think that the godly are wandering in mind and mad. They will find that it is really they who were wandering in mind, and mad, even when they were in the plenitude of their power and in the enjoyment of all the good things of this life. These minor echoes heighten the effect of the major refrain mentioned in the Introduction.
"On their faces": the Face is the symbol of Personality. Their whole Personality will be subverted and degraded-in the midst of the Fire.
Allah's Creation is not haphazard. Everything goes by law, proportion, and measure. Everything has its appointed time, place, and occasion, as also its definite limitation. Nothing happens but according to His Plan, and every deed, word, and thought of man has its fullest consequences, except in so far as the Grace or Mercy of Allah intervenes, and that is according to law and plan.
While in the life of created things there is "proportion and measure", and a lag of time or distance or circumstance, in Allah's Command, the Design, the Word, the Execution, and the Consequences are but a single Act. The simile given is that of the twinkling of an eye, which is the shortest time that a simple man can think of: the cause which occasions the twinkling, the movement of the muscles connected with it, the closing of the eyelids, and their reopening, are all almost like a simultaneous act. By way of contrast take an illustration like that of a man writing a book. He must form the design in his mind; he must prepare himself by research, collection of knowledge, or of personal experience; he must use or acquire the art of writing; he must collect the materials for writing, viz., paper, ink, pen, etc., and this will connect with a chain of manufacturing processes in which he is dependent upon other people's work and experience; then his book may have to be printed or lightographed or bound, and sold, or taken to a library, or presented to a friend, which will bring into play numerous other chains of processes, and dependence upon other people's work or skill; and the lag of Time, Space, and Circumstance will occur at numerous stages. In Allah's Command, the word "Be" (kun) includes everything, without the intervention, of or dependence upon any other being or thing whatever. And this is also another phase of the philosophy of Unity.
Ashyaakum: 'gangs or parties or collection of men like you.'-addressed to wicked men who arrogantly rely upon their own strength or combination, neither of which can stand for a moment against the Will of Allah.
The cases of Pharaoh's men of old and the Pagan Quraish are considered as parallel, and an appeal is addressed to the latter from the experience of the former: 'will ye not learn and repent?'
The point is that nothing which men do is lost-good or evil. Everything gives rise to an inevitable chain of consequences, from which a release is only obtained by the intervention of Allah's Grace acting on an act, a striving of the human will to repent and turn to Allah.
The record, in the case of those who dishonoured and violated Truth, will lead to their undoing; but in the case of those who honoured the Truth and adopted it so as to shine in their righteous lives, the result is expressed by four metaphors, in an ascending degree of sublimity: (1) they will be in the midst of Gardens where rivers flow; (2) they will be in sure abode; (3) with Allah; (4) Whose sovereignty is omnipotent. "Gardens" with Rivers (flowing beneath): this has been explained more than once already: Cf. n. 4668 to xliii. 70. The Garden suggests all the Bliss we can imagine through our senses.
While we possess our bodily senses, the best conceptions we can form are through our sense-perceptions.
But there is a higher conception still, something that it can only be expressed by reference to the Presence of Allah,
Muqtadir, which is translated Omnipotent, implies something more: the eighth- declension form denotes not only complete mastery, but the further idea that the mastery arises from Allah's own nature, and depends on nothing else whatever.