1 By the (angels) who tear out (the souls of the wicked) with violence; 5916 5917
2 By those who gently draw out (the souls of the blessed); 5918
3 And by those who glide along (on errands of mercy) 5919
4 Then press forward as in a race
5 Then arrange to do (the commands of their Lord)
6 One Day everything that can be in commotion will be in violent commotion 5920
7 Followed by oft-repeated (commotions): 5921
8 Hearts that Day will be in agitation; 5922
9 Cast down will be (their owners') eyes. 5923
10 They say (now): "What! shall we indeed be returned to (our) former state?" 5924
11 "What! When we shall have become rotten bones?"
12 They say: "It would in that case be a return with loss!"
13 But verily it will be but a single (compelling) Cry. 5925
14 When behold they will be in the (full) awakening (to Judgment). 5926
15 Has the story of Moses reached thee? 5927
16 Behold thy Lord did call to him in the sacred valley of Tuwa 5928
17 "Go thou to Pharaoh for he has indeed transgressed all bounds. 5929
18 "And say to him `Wouldst thou that thou shouldst be purified (from sin)?
19 "`And that I guide thee to thy Lord so thou shouldst fear Him?' " 5930
20 Then did (Moses) show him the Great Sign. 5931
21 But (Pharaoh) rejected it and disobeyed (guidance);
22 Further he turned his back striving hard (against Allah).
23 Then he collected (his men) and made a proclamation
24 Saying "I am your Lord Most High."
25 But Allah did punish him (and made an) example of him in the Hereafter as in this life. 5932
26 Verily in this is an instructive warning for whosoever feareth (Allah): 5933
27 What! are ye the more difficult to create of the heaven (above)? (Allah) hath constructed it: 5934
28 On high hath He raised its canopy and He hath given it order and perfection. 5935
29 Its night doth He endow with darkness and its splendor doth He bring out (with light). 5936
30 And the earth moreover; hath He extended (to a wide expanse): 5937
31 He draweth out therefrom its moisture and its pasture; 5938
32 And the mountains hath He firmly fixed 5939
33 For use and convenience to you and your cattle. 5940
34 Therefore when there comes the great overwhelming (Event) 5941
35 The Day when Man shall remember (all) that he strove for 5942
36 And Half-Fire shall be placed in full view for (all) to see 5943
37 Then for such as had transgressed all bounds
38 And had preferred the life of this world 5944
39 The Abode will be Hell-Fire;
40 And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord's (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower Desires 5995
41 Their abode will be the Garden.
42 They ask thee about the Hour `When will be its appointed time?' 5946
43 Wherein art thou (concerned) with the declaration thereof?
44 With their Lord is the Limit fixed therefor. 5947
45 Thou art but a Warner for such as fear it. 5948
46 The Day they see it (it will be) as if they had tarried but a single evening or (at most till) the following morn! 5949
Note Number : 5916The 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.
Note Number : 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?
Note Number : 5918The second point is that in contrast with the wicked, the souls of the blessed will be drawn out gently to their new fife. They will be ready for it. In fact death for them will be a realease from the grosser incidents of bodily sense. To them the approach of Judgment will be welcome.
Note Number : 5919At all times there are errands of mercy and blessing and errands of justice, which the angels are prompt to execute by order of Allah. There are three features of this, thus giving the third, fourth, and fifth points. (3) Their movement is compared to that of gliding or swimming (sabhan). In xxi. 33 this verb is applied to the motion of the celestial bodies: they all "swim along, each in its rounded course". Cf. Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice: "There's not an orb which thou behold'st, But in his motion like an angel sings, Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubims". (4) In hurrying on their errands the angels press forth as in a race. (5) And thus they promptly execute the orders of their Lord.
Note Number : 5920The evidence of the wonderful working of the angels having been invoked in the first five verses, the conclusion is now drawn and stated. It is certain that one great Day, the whole world as we now see it in our lower life will be in violent revolution. It will be like an earthquake destroying all land-marks. But that will affect only things subject to change: they will suffer violent convulsions as a preliminary to their disappearance. But Allah and His divine order will not change: His "Face" abideth for ever, full of Majesty, Bounty, and Honour (lv. 27).
Note Number : 5921The Commotion will be repeated again and again in the transitory world, to make way for the new world that will then come into being.
Note Number : 5922All hearts will be in agitation: those of the blessed ones to see the beginning of the fulfilment of their Lord's Promise; those of the Rejecters of Allah for fear of His just Judgement.
Note Number : 5923Similarly all eyes will be cast down: those of the blessed ones in humble modesty, and those of the Rejecters of Allah, in utter humiliation, sorrow, and shame, for their arrogance and insolence in their probationary life.
Note Number : 5924The Unbelievers say now, in their arrogance, insolence, and mocking defiance: "Surely death here is the end of all things! When we are dead and buried, and our bones are rotten, how can we be restored again?" They add, "If that were so, then we should indeed be in a turn of dreadful luck! Instead of gaining by the Resurrection, we should be in terrible loss (with our rotten bones)!" They mean this in biting mockery. But there will indeed be an Account taken, and they will indeed be in a terrible loss, for they will go to perdition!
Note Number : 5925Judgment will be insugurated with a single compelling Cry. Cf. xxxvii. 19. See also xxxvi. 29 and 49, where the single mightly Blast seems to refer to the sinners being cut off in this life and plunged into the other world where they will be further judged, and xxxvi. 53, where the final Judgment is referred to.
Note Number : 5926They will have been more or less dormant before the Great Judgment, as contrasted with the Lesser Judgment (n. 5914 to lxxviii. 40, and n. 5822 to lxxv. 22). When the resurrection comes, they will come fully into the new world, the old heaven and earth having then completely passed away, not only for them but absolutely.
Note Number : 5927This is just a reference to the story of Moses told more fully in S. xx. 9-76. The lessons drawn are: (1) That even to an arrogant blasphemer and rebel against Allah's Law, like Pharaoh, Allah's grace was offered through a major Prophet Moses; (2) that this rejection brought about his signal downfall even in this world; and (3) that his humiliation and punishment will be completed in the Hereafter at Judgment.
Note Number : 5928Cf. xx. 12.
Note Number : 5929Cf. xx. 24.
Note Number : 5930Even for such a one as Pharaoh, intoxicated with his own power and greatness, guidance and grace were offered through Moses.
Note Number : 5931What was the Great Sign? Some Commentators understand by it the "White Shining Hand": see n. 2550 to xx. 22-23. Others think it was the miracle of the rod that became a "snake active in motion": see xx. 20, n. 2549. These were among the Greater Signs: xx. 23. In xvii. 101 there is a reference to nine Clear Signs given to Moses, and these are specified in detail in n. 1091 to vii. 133. The fact is, there were many Signs given, "openly self-explained," but Pharaoh and his men "were steeped in arrogance,-a people given to sin" (vii. 133). The preeminently Great Sign was therefore the fact of Moses being sent to Pharaoh, which subsequently converted the magicians and the more learned Egyptians to the true God (xx. 70-73), though Pharaoh and his Chiefs resisted and suffered for their sins.
Note Number : 5932See xx. 78-79, also vii. 135-137.
Note Number : 5933Cf. xxiv. 44.
Note Number : 5934If man grows arrogant or forgets his accountability to Allah, in his ignorance or thoughtlessness, he is reminded that he is only an insignificant speck in Allah's spacious Creation. All the excellence that man acquires is the gift of Allah. Who has bestowed on him a high Destiny if he fulfils the purpose of his creation: ii. 30-39. Then follows a nature passage, pointing to the glory of the heavens and the earth, and how they are both made to subserve the life of man.
Note Number : 5935Cf. ii. 29. The mystery of the heavens with their countless stars and the planets obeying the laws of motion, and the sun and moon influencing the temperature and climates of the earth from thousands or millions of miles, illustrate the order and perfection which Allah has given to His Creation. Can man then remain exempt from his responsibility for his deeds, endowed as he is with a will, or deny the Day of Sorting Out, which is the Day of Judgment?
Note Number : 5936Its of course refers to the starry heaven. Both the Night and the Day have each its own beauty and its utility for man, as has been frequently pointed out in the Qur-an. The night is a period of darkness, but it has also its splendours of light in the moon, or the planets Jupiter or Venus, or stars like Sirius or the Milky Way. These countless lights of night have their own beauty, and by day there is the splendour of the sun for us, which in Creation as a whole, is just one of countless stars.
Note Number : 5937Moreover: or, more literally, after that. See n. 4475 to xli. 11.
Note Number : 5938The underground springs and wells of water as well as rivers and glaciers in northren climates are due to the different levels of highlands not lowlands. They spread the moisture evenly as wanted, and give corn, fruits, and vegetables to man, and pastures and feeding grounds to beasts of the fields. For the wonderful circuit or cycle of water between heaven and earth, see notes 3106 (xxv. 49) and 3111 (xxv. 53).
Note Number : 5939See n. 2038 to xvi. 15. The "eternal hills" are the main reservoirs for the storage and gradual distribution of water, the very basis of the life of man and beast.
Note Number : 5940This clause I construe to apply to verses 30, 31, and 32 above. Everything on earth has, by Allah's bountiful providence, been arranged to subserve the use and convenience of man and the lower life which depends upon him. The intermediary between Allah's providence and the actual use made of Allah's other gifts is man's own intelligence and initiative, which are also gifts of Allah.
Note Number : 5941The Judgment, the time for sorting out all things according to their true, intrinsic, and eternal values.
Note Number : 5942The Judgment will be not only for his acts but for his motives, "all he strove for". In this life he may forget his ill-deeds, but in the new conditions he will not only remember them, but the Fire of Punishment will be plainly visible to him, and not only to him, but it will be "for all to see". This will add to the sinner's humiliation.
Note Number : 5943Cf. xxvi. 91.
Note Number : 5944The abiding Punishment will be for those who had wilfully and persistently rebelled against Allah, "transgressing all bounds", and had given themselves up to the vanities and lusts of this lower life. This Punishment will not touch those who had repented and been forgiven, nor those guilty, through human frailty, of minor sing, whose deeds will be weighed in the balance against their good deeds: ci. 6-9.
Note Number : 5946Cf vii. 187 and n. 1159. Only Allah can reveal it. But were it known, "heavy were its burden through the heavens and the earth".
Note Number : 5947Our time has no sort of comparison with the timeless state in the new spiritual World in which the final Judgment will take place. Nor can its limits-how long it will last-be set except in the Will of Almighty Allah. Lord of Supreme Wisdom, Justice, and Goodness: xi. 107-108. But it is near, in the sense explained in n. 5914 to lxxviii. 40.
Note Number : 5948The warning is only effective for those who believe in Allah and in the Final Account. Such men immediately turn in repentance to Allah, and it is to lead such men and help them, that Prophets are sent.
Note Number : 5949Cf. x. 45, where the expression used is: "it will be as if they had tarried but an hour of a day." Here the metaphor used is "a single evening, or, at most, till the following morn". Death is like sleep, and may be compared to the evening of life. In sleep we do not know how the time passes. When we wake up from the sleep of Death at the Resurrection, we shall not know whether it was the following moment or the following hour after we slept, but we shall feel that it is morning, for we shall be conscious of all that goes on, as one awakened in the morning.
Note Number : 5995It is not meant for one class or race; it is universal, and is addressed to all the Worlds. For the meaning of "Worlds", see n. 20 to i. 2.