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Surahs Haqqah and Ma‘arij
Qur'anic Exegesis
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)

Both these sūrahs form a pair with regard to their subject matter. The first sūrah cautions the Quraysh about the punishment of the Herein and the Hereafter and the second sūrah warns such people of their fate as made fun of this very punishment and asked to hasten its arrival. Both sūrahs are directed at the leadership of the Quraysh, and it is evident from their contents that, like the previous sūrahs of this group, they were revealed in Makkah in the phase of indhār in the Prophet's mission (sws).

The theme of Sūrah Hāqqah is to substantiate the Day of Judgement, to mention what will happen on that Day and to warn those among its addressees of the consequences of denying the warnings sounded by the Qur’ān  about it.

The theme of Sūrah Ma‘ārij is to warn those among the Quraysh of their fate who are making fun of these consequences and are asking to hasten their advent, to urge the Prophet (sws) to persevere against these people and to tell the disbelievers that Paradise is the reward of good deeds; a person who is devoid of these deeds even if he is from the most noble of the Arabs or non-Arabs shall never enter this everlasting kingdom.



بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الْحَاقَّةُ مَا الْحَاقَّةُ وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْحَاقَّةُ (١-٣)

The Inevitable!1 What is the Inevitable?2 And what do you know what the Inevitable is? (1-3)


كَذَّبَتْ ثَمُودُ وَعَادٌ بِالْقَارِعَةِ فَأَمَّا ثَمُودُ فَأُهْلِكُوا بِالطَّاغِيَةِ وَأَمَّا عَادٌ فَأُهْلِكُوا بِرِيحٍ صَرْصَرٍ عَاتِيَةٍ سَخَّرَهَا عَلَيْهِمْ سَبْعَ لَيَالٍ وَثَمَانِيَةَ أَيَّامٍ حُسُومًا فَتَرَى الْقَوْمَ فِيهَا صَرْعَى كَأَنَّهُمْ أَعْجَازُ نَخْلٍ خَاوِيَةٍ فَهَلْ تَرَى لَهُم مِّن بَاقِيَةٍ (٤-٨)

The ‘Ād and the Thamūd denied this Pounding One;3 so the Thamūd were destroyed by a calamity4 that exceeded all bounds and the Ād by a storm, fierce and unrestrained.5 God let loose this [storm] on them for seven nights and eight days to ravage them. You would have seen them lying overthrown as though they were hollow trunks of palm-trees. So do you now see any of them remaining? (4-8)


وَجَاء فِرْعَوْنُ وَمَن قَبْلَهُ وَالْمُؤْتَفِكَاتُ بِالْخَاطِئَةِ فَعَصَوْا رَسُولَ رَبِّهِمْ فَأَخَذَهُمْ أَخْذَةً رَّابِيَةً (٩-١٠)

And the same crime was committed by Pharaoh and all of those before him and by the overturned settlements6 also such that they disobeyed the messenger of their Lord.7 So He gripped them with an ever-intensifying grip. (9-10)


إِنَّا لَمَّا طَغَى الْمَاء حَمَلْنَاكُمْ فِي الْجَارِيَةِ لِنَجْعَلَهَا لَكُمْ تَذْكِرَةً وَتَعِيَهَا أُذُنٌ وَاعِيَةٌ (١١-١٢)

[Similarly, as a consequence of denying Noah (sws)] when [the storm blew over and] the flood rose high it was We who carried you upon the ark to make this [account] a reminder for you and that retaining ears may hear and retain it.8 (11-12) 


فَإِذَا نُفِخَ فِي الصُّورِ نَفْخَةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ وَحُمِلَتِ الْأَرْضُ وَالْجِبَالُ فَدُكَّتَا دَكَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَيَوْمَئِذٍ وَقَعَتِ الْوَاقِعَةُ وَانشَقَّتِ السَّمَاء فَهِيَ يَوْمَئِذٍ وَاهِيَةٌ وَالْمَلَكُ عَلَى أَرْجَائِهَا وَيَحْمِلُ عَرْشَ رَبِّكَ فَوْقَهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ ثَمَانِيَةٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ تُعْرَضُونَ لَا تَخْفَى مِنكُمْ خَافِيَةٌ (١٣-١٨)

Consequently, [in a similar manner]9 when the trumpet is sounded once only and the earth and the mountains are shattered to pieces with one crash, then on that day will happen which is to happen. And the sky will be rent asunder; then [you will see that] it will be frail will on that day and the angels will be [gathered near] its borders10 and eight of them will on that Day bear the throne of your Lord over them.11 On that Day shall you be brought forth such that none of your secret will remain a secret. (13-18)


فَأَمَّا مَنْ أُوتِيَ كِتَابَهُ بِيَمِينِهِ فَيَقُولُ هَاؤُمُ اقْرَؤُوا كِتَابِيهْ  إِنِّي ظَنَنتُ أَنِّي مُلَاقٍ حِسَابِيهْ فَهُوَ فِي عِيشَةٍ رَّاضِيَةٍ فِي جَنَّةٍ عَالِيَةٍ  قُطُوفُهَا دَانِيَةٌ كُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا هَنِيئًا بِمَا أَسْلَفْتُمْ فِي الْأَيَّامِ الْخَالِيَةِ (١٩-٢٤)

Then he who is given his record in his right hand will say: “Take this and read it. I always thought12 that [one day] I shall have to face my reckoning.” Consequently, he will be in a life of bliss in a lofty garden whose fruits will be hanging low13 – [Now] eat and drink to your heart’s content14 as reward for the deeds you did in the days gone by. (19-24)


وَأَمَّا مَنْ أُوتِيَ كِتَابَهُ بِشِمَالِهِ فَيَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أُوتَ كِتَابِيهْ وَلَمْ أَدْرِ مَا حِسَابِيهْ يَا لَيْتَهَا كَانَتِ الْقَاضِيَةَ مَا أَغْنَى عَنِّي مَالِيهْ هَلَكَ عَنِّي سُلْطَانِيهْ خُذُوهُ فَغُلُّوهُ ثُمَّ الْجَحِيمَ صَلُّوهُ ثُمَّ فِي سِلْسِلَةٍ ذَرْعُهَا سَبْعُونَ ذِرَاعًا فَاسْلُكُوهُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ لَا يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ الْعَظِيمِ وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَى طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ فَلَيْسَ لَهُ الْيَوْمَ هَاهُنَا حَمِيمٌ وَلَا طَعَامٌ إِلَّا مِنْ غِسْلِينٍ لَا يَأْكُلُهُ إِلَّا الْخَاطِؤُونَ (٢٥-٣٧)

And he who is given his record in his left hand will say: “Would that I were not given my record and I were unaware of my account! Would that [my] death were final! Of what use has been my wealth to me? I am robbed of all my kingdom”15 – Seize him and chain him by the neck. Then into Hell cast him. Then with a chain whose measure in yards is seventy bind him – he used not to believe in God, the Most High, nor urged the feeding of the poor.16 So, today he neither has a sympathizer here nor any food except the fluid in which wounds are washed.17 Only these sinners will eat it.18  (25-37)


 فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِمَا تُبْصِرُونَ وَمَا لَا تُبْصِرُونَ إِنَّهُ لَقَوْلُ رَسُولٍ كَرِيمٍ وَمَا هُوَ بِقَوْلِ شَاعِرٍ قَلِيلًا مَا تُؤْمِنُونَ وَلَا بِقَوْلِ كَاهِنٍ قَلِيلًا مَا تَذَكَّرُونَ تَنزِيلٌ مِّن رَّبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ وَلَوْ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَيْنَا بَعْضَ الْأَقَاوِيلِ لَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُ بِالْيَمِينِ ثُمَّ لَقَطَعْنَا مِنْهُ الْوَتِينَ فَمَا مِنكُم مِّنْ أَحَدٍ عَنْهُ حَاجِزِينَ وَإِنَّهُ لَتَذْكِرَةٌ لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ وَإِنَّا لَنَعْلَمُ أَنَّ مِنكُم مُّكَذِّبِينَ  وَإِنَّهُ لَحَسْرَةٌ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ وَإِنَّهُ لَحَقُّ الْيَقِينِ فَسَبِّحْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الْعَظِيمِ (٣٨-٥٢)

So, no! [This has not been inspired by some devil]. I present before you the testimony of that which you see19 and also of that which you do not see20 so that this is the word of a noble messenger;21 it is no poet’s word. Little do you believe! Nor is it the word of some soothsayer. Little do you understand!22 It is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds.23 And if this [Messenger of Ours] had concocted some false discourses in Our name, We would have surely seized him by Our strong hand and then severed his life-vein. Then no one among you could have stopped [Us] from this.24 This is a reminder for the God-fearing. We very well know that there are those among you who deny [it]. [They will keep on denying it like this] and [the Day of Judgement] will become a regret for these disbelievers. There is no doubt that it is a certain reality. So [O Prophet (sws)! Leave them alone] and glorify the name of your Lord, Most High.25 (38-52)





بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

سَأَلَ سَائِلٌ بِعَذَابٍ وَاقِعٍ لِّلْكَافِرينَ لَيْسَ لَهُ دَافِعٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ ذِي الْمَعَارِجِ تَعْرُجُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ إِلَيْهِ فِي يَوْمٍ كَانَ مِقْدَارُهُ خَمْسِينَ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ  فَاصْبِرْ صَبْرًا جَمِيلًا إِنَّهُمْ يَرَوْنَهُ بَعِيدًا وَنَرَاهُ قَرِيبًا (١-٧)

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful.

A person in haste asked to hasten26 the punishment which is bound to befall upon these disbelievers. No one would be able to avert it. It will be from the Lord of the ascending stairways.27 [They measure everything from their own scales and then ask to hasten its arrival. Tell them that] the angels and the Spirit28 ascend towards Him in a Day the measure of which [according to your calculation] is fifty thousand years.29 So [O Prophet!] with grace and dignity bear [what they say] with patience.30 They hold it far off and We see it near at hand.  (1-7)


يَوْمَ تَكُونُ السَّمَاء كَالْمُهْلِ وَتَكُونُ الْجِبَالُ كَالْعِهْنِ وَلَا يَسْأَلُ حَمِيمٌ حَمِيمًا يُبَصَّرُونَهُمْ يَوَدُّ الْمُجْرِمُ لَوْ يَفْتَدِي مِنْ عَذَابِ يَوْمِئِذٍ بِبَنِيهِ وَصَاحِبَتِهِ وَأَخِيهِ وَفَصِيلَتِهِ الَّتِي تُؤْويهِ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ يُنجِيهِ (٨-١٤)

[They will also see it].

The Day when the sky become like sediment of oil and the mountains become like tufts of carded wool, and no sincere friend [at that time] shall inquire after his friend [though] they shall be shown to one another. The sinner will long to redeem himself from the torment of that Day by offering his sons, his wife, his brother, his family who used to give him shelter and all the people of the earth as ransom and then save himself from it. (8-14)


كَلَّا إِنَّهَا لَظَى نَزَّاعَةً لِّلشَّوَى تَدْعُو مَنْ أَدْبَرَ وَتَوَلَّى وَجَمَعَ فَأَوْعَى (١٥-١٩)

By no means! it is the flame of fire which strips open the skin,31 calling32 every person who turned his back and drew away and amassed riches and hoarded them.33  (15-19)


إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ خُلِقَ هَلُوعًا إِذَا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ جَزُوعًا وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ الْخَيْرُ مَنُوعًا إِلَّا الْمُصَلِّينَ الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَى صَلَاتِهِمْ دَائِمُونَ  وَالَّذِينَ فِي أَمْوَالِهِمْ حَقٌّ مَّعْلُومٌ لِّلسَّائِلِ وَالْمَحْرُومِ وَالَّذِينَ يُصَدِّقُونَ بِيَوْمِ الدِّينِ وَالَّذِينَ هُم مِّنْ عَذَابِ رَبِّهِم مُّشْفِقُونَ إِنَّ عَذَابَ رَبِّهِمْ غَيْرُ مَأْمُونٍ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَافِظُونَ إِلَّا عَلَى أَزْوَاجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ غَيْرُ مَلُومِينَ فَمَنِ ابْتَغَى وَرَاء ذَلِكَ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْعَادُونَ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِأَمَانَاتِهِمْ وَعَهْدِهِمْ رَاعُونَ  وَالَّذِينَ هُم بِشَهَادَاتِهِمْ قَائِمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَى صَلَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ أُوْلَئِكَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ مُّكْرَمُونَ (١٩-٣٥)

[These people shall continue with their hasty attitude. Just ignore them O Prophet!]. In reality, man has been created very impatient.34 Whenever some affliction befalls him he becomes depressed and when good fortune befalls him he becomes stingy. Not so those who pray,35 who are always steadfast in prayer;36 who set aside a fixed portion37 in their wealth for those who ask and for the deprived;38 who truly believe in the Day of Reckoning and dread the punishment of their Lord39 – because the punishment of their Lord is not a thing to be careless of – those who preserve their chastity – except with their wives and slave-girls,40 for in their cases they are not blameworthy. But they who seek to go beyond this, then it is they who are transgressors – who keep their trusts41 and promises42 [both with regard to Allah and with regard to their fellow human beings], who stand firm in their testimonies and those who guard their prayers.43 It is they who will be in gardens of paradise, laden with honours.44 (19-35)


فَمَالِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا قِبَلَكَ مُهْطِعِينَ عَنِ الْيَمِينِ وَعَنِ الشِّمَالِ عِزِينَ أَيَطْمَعُ كُلُّ امْرِئٍ مِّنْهُمْ أَن يُدْخَلَ جَنَّةَ نَعِيمٍ كَلَّا إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاهُم مِّمَّا يَعْلَمُونَ (٣٦-٣٩)

Then what is the matter with these disbelievers that [after hearing this decision of Ours] they rush madly at you in multitudes from right and left? Does each one among them covet to enter the garden of bliss? [just because he possesses a high status in this world.] By no means! [They should not show conceit on this status]. We have created them out of what they know. (36-39)


فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِرَبِّ الْمَشَارِقِ وَالْمَغَارِبِ إِنَّا لَقَادِرُونَ عَلَى أَن نُّبَدِّلَ خَيْرًا مِّنهُمْ وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمَسْبُوقِينَ فَذَرْهُمْ يَخُوضُوا وَيَلْعَبُوا حَتَّى يُلَاقُوا يَوْمَهُمُ الَّذِي يُوعَدُونَ يَوْمَ يَخْرُجُونَ مِنَ الْأَجْدَاثِ سِرَاعًا كَأَنَّهُمْ إِلَى نُصُبٍ يُوفِضُونَ خَاشِعَةً أَبْصَارُهُمْ تَرْهَقُهُمْ ذِلَّةٌ ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمُ الَّذِي كَانُوا يُوعَدُونَ (٤٠-٤٤)

[They think that We shall not be able to create them a second time.] By no means! I swear by the Lord who is the Master of all the vastness of the East and the West45 that We are capable of creating them [a second time] in a better form and We shall not be powerless in this regard. For this reason, [if they do not understand this then] leave them to chat and play about until they encounter that day of theirs about which they are being threatened. The Day on which they will rush out from their graves as if racing towards targets marked. Their eyes will be downcast; disgrace will cover them. This is the Day about which they were kept on being warned of. (40-44)


(Translated by Dr Shehzad Saleem)


Kuala Lumpur

4th February 2010








1. The actual word is: الْحَاقَّةُ. It is one of the names of the Day of Judgement. The name signifies something that is bound to happen, something which morality and rationality dictate that it has to come about and something which is a certain and indubitable reality. This one word occurs in place of a sentence. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

Life after nothingness and then death after life bear testimony to the fact that this world has been created with a purpose and that it is not correct to construe that it will continue endlessly like this or suddenly end. If this was so, then this world would be a purposeless creation, which is against the majesty of a wise, powerful and benevolent creator. On the contrary, this is evidence to the fact that whomsoever the Almighty blesses with life He does so to test and try him; the test is whether this person spends his life to please the Almighty or to please his own base desires. A natural outcome of this test is that He bring about one day in which He give life to everyone, hold them accountable for their deeds and then reward or punish them accordingly. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 541)

2. This question is meant to describe the horror and dread of the Day of Judgement as well as its profundity.

3.  This is another name of the Day of Judgement. The name alludes to the fact that no one has knowledge of the time of its arrival; it will come suddenly and in the words of Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī just as an unexpected rap at the door startles those sleeping peacefully, similarly, the advent of this day will cause a great commotion.

4. What exactly was this calamity? It is evident from various indications from the Qur’ān that it descended from the striped winter clouds in the form of a lightning and decimated the whole nation.

5. Ie., when they became rebellious and went out of control, the Almighty unleashed on them a wind that went out of control and started to uproot them.  

6. This is a reference to the subverted cities inhabited by the people of Lot (sws) and some other similar nations about whom the Quraysh were full aware of.

7. These words show the intensity of their crime: denying an emissary of God is tantamount to rebelling against God.

8. And they should never forget that the Almighty did a favour to their forefathers and this was the fate, in contrast to them, suffered by the wrongdoers. Alas! They did forget it and once again after denying a messenger are calling for their doom.

9. The anecdotes of punishment mentioned above are now made a premise to substantiate the Day of Judgement: Just as the nations of ‘Ād and Thamūd, Pharaoh and Noah (sws) were called to account by the Almighty for their deeds without taking any pains, similarly the Day of Judgement shall be brought forth by Him without undertaking any effort for it.

10. The polytheists are told that the angels whom they regard as deities and expect that they shall intercede for them before God shall themselves be in a state of anxiety when the great cataclysm takes place and will withdraw to the border of the heavens.

11. This is from among the matters of mutashābihāt whose reality we cannot understand in this world. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

… These are the events of an unknown world. This is the only way to describe what will happen when the world unseen and unknown to man will come. It is not possible to know what will be their true form. Consequently, the Qur’ān has directed the believers to broadly profess faith in them in the very manner they have been mentioned, and they should not get after knowing their exact form lest they might end up in some trial. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 546)

12. The actual word is: ظَن. Here it means something which is likely. It is evident from the verse that this is enough to believe in reward and punishment. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes

… There exist potent signs and indications in the world around man and in that within him and in the teachings of the prophets and sages that man shall be rewarded or punished for his deeds. If a person is not absolutely dumb and indifferent, his heart bears witness that this world is not going to end just like this and that this accountability will definitely take place. Although he cannot believe in this premise the way one believes in something he observes with his eyes, yet he does think that this belief is very likely to come true. After such a belief, he is not ready to take the risk of being indifferent to it and disregard the consequences of the fate he will meet. The faith which as a result is imbibed in a person gradually strengthens because of various life experiences until it reaches the stage of certitude. If a person ignores this “likely belief” and waits that only when he is certain of the Day of Judgement that he will believe in it, then this waiting period will only end when he will see this Day from his very eyes and at that time professing faith will be of no use to him. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 546)

13. This is an elegant comparison. The adjective عَالِيَةٌ is used for Paradise and دَانِيَةٌ for its fruits and fruit-bunches. In other words, though the orchards will be at a height yet their fruits and bunches will bend low for those who want to consume them.

14. The actual word is: هَنِيئًا. It is the attribute of a suppressed verbal noun. The implication is that this eating and drinking will be relished and cherished by them; neither does any care need to be exercised in consuming them nor have they been given as a trial so that if one does not owe one’s obligation towards it, it will become a means of punishment for him as is the case of worldly blessings.  

15. The actual words are: هَلَكَ عَنِّي سُلْطَانِيهْ. The preposition عَن is appropriate here with هَلَكَ because the latter encompasses the meaning of ذَهَبَ or  بَعُدَ.

16. Ie., when he remained indifferent to the poor and needy in spite of having wealth, then in reality he did not believe in God even though he laid claim to this belief.

17. The actual word is: غِسْلِين. In the Arabic language, it is used for the fluid in which dirty and impure things are washed. It is evident from this that the very wealth of his that he had made filthy by not spending it for the cause of God will come before him on the Day of Judgement in the form of this fluid.

18. The complication is that because of similarity between a deed and its consequence, this food will specifically be reserved for such sinners.

19. This refers to the worldly retribution of nations to whom truth was conclusively delivered and they still rejected it; this retribution was witnessed many a time on the face of this earth. One of its examples is the account of Noah’s people narrated in the very next sūrah, Sūrah Nūh.

20. This refers to the great system of protection when the Qur’ān was being revealed as testified by the jinn folk later in Sūrah Jinn.

21. The expression “noble messenger” refers to Gabriel. The implied meaning is that this Qur’ān has not been inspired by some devil; it has been inspired by Gabriel, an honoured angel of God in whose inspiration no devil can intervene.

22. The actual words are: قَلِيلًا مَا تَذَكَّرُونَ. Earlier, the words used were: قَلِيلًا مَا تُؤْمِنُونَ. In my opinion, in both these sentences, the verb in them expresses intention. Hence, the correct translation would be: “they do no want to believe” and “they do not want to understand” respectively. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes

These verses also reflect their true inner-self. After all, the leaders of the Quraysh were not so dumb and foolish that they were not able to distinguish between the words of God and the words of poets and soothsayers. They definitely understood this difference and at times the passion of acknowledging the truth would also have arisen in them; however, this passion was buried so deep by the burden of base desires that in the first place this passion would seldom arise and if ever it did, it was so weak that it would not be able to effect any change in their life. Only a very fortunate person could have been able to surmount these difficulties. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 553)

23. Ie, it has been revealed from the Being Who is the king of the universe; so they should fear the time when they will have to endure the consequences of denying Him.

24. This is a refutation of the blame made by the Quraysh on the Prophet (sws) that he had concocted all this himself. Also cited is a response to their demand that if the Prophet (sws) wanted them to accept the Qur’ān, then he should bring forth another Qur’ān or at least alter this Qur’ān to the extent acceptable to them. In the words فَمَا مِنْكُمْ مِنْ أَحَدٍ عَنْهُ حَاجِزِينَ the word حَاجِزِينَ is in the plural form because the word أَحَد here has come in its plural usage just as it is in the following verse: لَسْتُنَّ كَأَحَدٍ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ (33: 32).

Why does this situation arise with the prophets of God? Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī has explained this. He writes:

It needs to be kept in consideration that the Almighty keeps strict vigil on people whom He chooses as His messengers. This is because He entrusts them with divine revelations which need to be protected. However, this does not necessarily mean that He will break the neck of everyone who ascribes falsities to Him. There are many people who even abuse the Almighty and are still given the respite of life, what to speak of ascribing falsities to Him. They will face the consequences of this crime in the Hereafter. However, a true messenger of God can neither ascribe falsities to God nor can he alter His message under pressure from someone. It is because the messengers are entrusted with the sharī‘ah that they are rendered as infallible by God. A slight blemish on their part can create a wrong example for their followers and hence they are immediately corrected by the Almighty on even the slightest of blemishes. Other people are not protected by God in this manner because they are not entrusted with the responsibility with which the messengers are. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 553)

25. In such circumstances, it is this glorification of God which becomes a means of perseverance for a true preacher.

26. The actual word is: سؤال. However, since it is used with the preposition ب, according to linguistic principles it encompasses the meaning of “to hasten and to make fun”. In other words, in order to make fun they would ask to hasten the punishment. The questions they would pose as a result would be: Where has that punishment been stranded? Why hasn’t it come till now? We have been threatened by it since ages, but it seems that it is resting somewhere because it has not arrived as yet?

27. This is a portrayal of the exalted court of God. The purpose is to inform man that His verdicts are delivered according to His majesty and exalted court. They should not be regarded analogous to the emotions, desires and expectations of the mean earthlings.

28. This refers to Gabriel. He is the chief of all angels. This mention of the specific after the general is in deference to his status.

29. This is from among the matters of the mutashābihāt. It is impossible to grasp their true form. The implication is that they should not regard God’s affairs as analogous to their own. In His dominion, certain days are equivalent to fifty thousand earth years.

30. The actual words are: فَاصْبِرْ صَبْرًا. What do they signify? Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī has explained this. He writes:

Showing patience with grace and dignity means that the Prophet (sws) should neither become sad and lose hope because of their attitude nor should he take any hasty step in their response nor should he show any compromise in his stance. It has also been delineated that which makes patience as graceful and dignified. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 567)

31. That is the threatened punishment is the flame of Hell. The feminine pronoun inإِنَّهَا  occurs in deference to fire.

32. The subtle use of the Arabic word تَدْعُو (to call) effectively conveys the fact that the calls of the Prophet (sws) are not influencing them; a day will come when Hell will call them.

33. Ie., they blindly amassed wealth whether by hook or by crook and then kept counting it.

34. This expression signifies the dominance of something in man’s nature. In the words of Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, if a dish is excessively saltish it can be said that it has been made of salt. The element of haste and impatience in a man’s nature is not something condemnable in itself and has its own importance in his nature. It is only when it manifests itself in an immoderate manner or out of place that it becomes harmful.

The word الْإِنسَانَ refers to the wretched people who are already under discussion. When a group of people is mentioned in this way, then the speaker wants to show indifference to them; in fact, wants to belittle them.

35. It is evident from this verse that to create poise in one’s desires and to save oneself from the lures of Satan, then the foremost way to is to diligently adhere to the prayer; without it no one can succeed in these matters.

36. This is a very important warning. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī has explained this. He writes:

… A deed which may be small in magnitude but is done regularly is more blessed than the one which may be large in magnitude but is done erratically and irregularly. If after a sudden burst of rain there is drought for a long period, crops are destroyed due to lack of water. On the other hand, little but regular rain keeps the crops alive and results in a good harvest. Same is the case with the prayer. If a person vigilantly and diligently prays as per the general requirement of religion from him in this regard it will earn him much more blessings than the long prayers offered so erratically that a person even forgets that he had once visited a mosque. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 572)

37. After the prayer, this is the second thing. In other words, the share which the poor have in the wealth of people in the form of zakāh should be paid to them. The Arabs were fully aware of it as an Abrahamic tradition. It is evident from the Qur’ān that two things are needed in this world for a person to remain a true servant of God: one of them is that his relationship with his creator is established on the right footings and the other one is that he is linked in the right way to God’s creation. The first of these is obtained through the prayer as it is the foremost manifestation of a person’s love for the Almighty and the second from spending for His cause as this is the foremost manifestation of a person’s love for God’s creation.

38. Here this word is used in contrast with سّائِل. Hence it refers to a person who in spite of being deprived is not prepared to sacrifice his self esteem by asking for money.

39. This is the real motive behind all their good deeds.

40. Besides wives, this permission was granted for slave-women as well because till then no possibility had arisen for them to lead respectable lives as free and decent women.

41. The word “trusts” encompasses abilities, talents, means and resources with which the Almighty has blessed man with.

42. The word “promise” is used here in a wide meaning. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī has explained this. He writes:

… Included in it is the promise which comes into existence by expressing words and also the promise which is not expressed in words but is acknowledged by the society; similarly, the promise taken by the Almighty from human nature is included here. The most important aspect of this promise is the promise and covenant which the Almighty has bound us in through his prophets and messengers; its statutes are expressly enshrined in the sharī‘ah. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, vol. 8, 576)

43. Ie., they protect their prayer from afflictions which destroy all its benefits. It needs to be kept in mind that earlier it was with the mention of their observance of the prayer that the qualities of the righteous began and now at the end of this list the prayer is mentioned again. It is evident from this that the prayer is the fountainhead of all good and it is the prayer which protects it as well.

44. This verse also critiques the arrogant among the Quraysh who thought that if ever the Hereafter comes, they would be conferred the same high rank and status as they have in this world.

45. The actual words are مَشْرِق and مَغْرِب.  They are in the plural form and it is known that the plural at times comes to refer to the vastness and boundaries of a thing. I have translated them accordingly. Also becomes evident from this usage of the plural form is that this oath is meant to bear testimony to the advent of the Hereafter on the basis of God’s unbounded power. The implication is that is that it is not difficult at all for the Lord at whose behest the sun, the moon, and billions of stars rise and set to create people again when they die and become dust. What is it in the world which can hinder His intention to materialize?

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