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Surahs Takwir – Infitar
Qur'anic Exegesis
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)



Both these sūrahs form a pair with relation to their subject.

In the first sūrah, the basis of the argument is the authenticity of the Qur’ān, and in the second one, the signs of the Almighty in a man’s being form this basis.

The sūrahs are directed at the leadership of the Quraysh, and it is evident from their contents that like the previous sūrahs they were revealed in Makkah in the phase of indhār-i- ‘ām of the Prophet’s mission.

The central themes of both sūrahs is to warn their addressees with reference to the great upheaval of the Day of Judgement of the fact that this great Day shall come only to inform them what each person sent forward and left behind.


Sūrah Takvīr

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

إِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَتْ (1) وَإِذَا النُّجُومُ انكَدَرَتْ (2) وَإِذَا الْجِبَالُ سُيِّرَتْ (3) وَإِذَا الْعِشَارُ عُطِّلَتْ (4) وَإِذَا الْوُحُوشُ حُشِرَتْ (5) وَإِذَا الْبِحَارُ سُجِّرَتْ (6) وَإِذَا النُّفُوسُ زُوِّجَتْ (7) وَإِذَا الْمَوْؤُودَةُ سُئِلَتْ (8) بِأَيِّ ذَنبٍ قُتِلَتْ (9) وَإِذَا الصُّحُفُ نُشِرَتْ (10) وَإِذَا السَّمَاء كُشِطَتْ (11) وَإِذَا الْجَحِيمُ سُعِّرَتْ (12) وَإِذَا الْجَنَّةُ أُزْلِفَتْ (13) عَلِمَتْ نَفْسٌ مَّا أَحْضَرَتْ (14)


In the name of God, the most Gracious, the ever Merciful

When the sun ceases to shine, when the stars are bedimmed, when the mountains are set moving,1 when camels, ten-months pregnant are left untended,2 when wild beasts [forgetting all their enmities] are herded together,3 when the seas burst forth,4 when5 souls are grouped [according to their deeds],6 when the infant girl, who was buried alive is asked for what sin was she slain,7 when the scrolls are laid open,8 when the skies are stripped bare,9 when Hell is set ablaze,10 when Paradise is brought near,11 then [O People! each one of you] will know what he has brought forward. (1-14)



فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِالْخُنَّسِ (15) الْجَوَارِ الْكُنَّسِ (16) وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا عَسْعَسَ (17) وَالصُّبْحِ إِذَا تَنَفَّسَ (18) إِنَّهُ لَقَوْلُ رَسُولٍ كَرِيمٍ (19) ذِي قُوَّةٍ عِندَ ذِي الْعَرْشِ مَكِينٍ (20) مُطَاعٍ ثَمَّ أَمِينٍ (21)

[This is the message of this Book. What has it got to do with Satan and his accomplices?]

Therefore, No! [this Book certainly is not inspired by some devil].12 I call to witness the stars which recede, traverse [the skies, pelt fire on these devils, then] hide13 and [I call to witness] the night as it retreats14 and the dawn when [being relieved of this burden] it breathes15 that this is the word of a noble messenger,16 endued with power, held in honour before the Lord of the Throne, who is obeyed there and moreover is very trustworthy.17 (15-21)


وَمَا صَاحِبُكُم بِمَجْنُونٍ (22) وَلَقَدْ رَآهُ بِالْأُفُقِ الْمُبِينِ (23) وَمَا هُوَ عَلَى الْغَيْبِ بِضَنِينٍ (24) وَمَا هُوَ بِقَوْلِ شَيْطَانٍ رَجِيمٍ (25)

And [O people of the Quraysh!] your companion18 is not one possessed. In reality, he saw him [– the noble messenger –] on the clear horizon.19 [You know that] he has never been avid for the Unseen.20 So, [certainly not!] this is not the utterance of an accursed devil.21 (22-25)


فَأَيْنَ تَذْهَبُونَ (26) إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِّلْعَالَمِينَ (27) لِمَن شَاء مِنكُمْ أَن يَسْتَقِيمَ (28) وَمَا تَشَاؤُونَ إِلَّا أَن يَشَاء اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ (29)

Whither then are you going? This is nothing but a reminder to the people of the world who intend to remain on the right path. And you cannot intend [to remain on the right path] unless the Almighty intends so [according to His laws].22 (26-29)





Sūrah Infitār

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

إِذَا السَّمَاء انفَطَرَتْ (1) وَإِذَا الْكَوَاكِبُ انتَثَرَتْ (2) وَإِذَا الْبِحَارُ فُجِّرَتْ (3) وَإِذَا الْقُبُورُ بُعْثِرَتْ (4) عَلِمَتْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ وَأَخَّرَتْ (5)

يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنسَانُ مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ الْكَرِيمِ (6) الَّذِي خَلَقَكَ فَسَوَّاكَ فَعَدَلَكَ (7) فِي أَيِّ صُورَةٍ مَّا شَاء رَكَّبَكَ (8)

In the name of God, the most Gracious, the ever Merciful

When the sky is rent asunder,23 when the stars are scattered, when the seas burst forth,24 when the graves are opened, at that time each one [of you O People!] will come to know what he has sent forward and what he has left behind.25 (1-5)

O man26! [You do not believe in this reality? It is strange indeed!] What is it that has lured you away from your Beneficent Lord,27 who created you, then fashioned you, then then gave you due proportion [such that] He put you together in whatever shape He pleased.28 (6-8)


كَلَّا بَلْ تُكَذِّبُونَ بِالدِّينِ (9) وَإِنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ لَحَافِظِينَ (10) كِرَامًا كَاتِبِينَ (11) يَعْلَمُونَ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ (12)

Certainly not! [whatever you say about that Day is baseless]; in fact, you want to deny reward and punishment,29 whereas appointed over you are guardians,30 noble31 scribes; they know what you do. 32 (9-12)


إِنَّ الْأَبْرَارَ لَفِي نَعِيمٍ (13) وَإِنَّ الْفُجَّارَ لَفِي جَحِيمٍ (14) يَصْلَوْنَهَا يَوْمَ الدِّينِ (15) وَمَا هُمْ عَنْهَا بِغَائِبِينَ (16)

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ (17) ثُمَّ مَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ (18) يَوْمَ لَا تَمْلِكُ نَفْسٌ لِّنَفْسٍ شَيْئًا وَالْأَمْرُ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلَّهِ (19)

[On that Day,33] the righteous shall surely dwell in bliss and the wicked ones shall be in Hell; they will enter it on the Day of Judgement such that they will never be able to disappear from it.34 (13-16)

What do you understand35 of that Day of Judgement? Speak up: What do you understand of that Day of Judgement?36 On that Day, no soul will be able to do anything for another. The matter, on that Day, will entirely be in the hands of God. (17-19)



Kuala Lumpur

27th February 2010




1. At other places, the Qur’ān has explained this by saying that mountains will fly about the way clouds do.

2. The actual word is: عِشَارٌ. It is the plural of عَشَرَاء. It refers to a ten-month pregnant she-camel. A ten-month pregnant she-camel is about to give birth to its offspring, and as such is held very dear by its owners. They sedulously cared for to it. After mentioning the transient nature of huge things, here the Qur’ān has mentioned she-camels to refer to prized-possessions. The purpose is to delineate the fact that such will be the horror of that day that people will only think of their own selves. They will be totally oblivious of their most prized possessions.

3. Such will be the extent of horror and fear on that day that what to speak of human beings even wild beasts will be confronted with this situation. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

… If a forest is engulfed with fire or if flood water spreads all over, the animals of the forest often herd together in fright on whatever hillock or mounds they can go to in order to confront a common calamity. So horror-stricken are they that goats, lions and wolves stand alongside one another but none of them will realize that its enemy or prey is right beside it. A similar situation will arise in its most dreadful form at the advent of the Day of Judgement. The very next verse shows that seas will cross their boundaries. This all-encompassing upheaval will make wild beasts unconcerned about their surroundings. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 9, 220)

4. The actual word is: سُجِّرَتْ. It means to enflame a stove by putting in more fuel in it. From here, it broadened in meaning and came to connote the tempestuousness of the seas whereby they cross the shores and enter the land.

5. From here begins the second phase of the Day of Judgement: the circumstances that will befall when that Day arrives.

6. This is the same as what has been stated in Sūrah Wāqi‘ah by the words: وَكُنتُمْ أَزْوَاجًا ثَلَاثَةً (7:56). This means that people will be categorized in various groups viz a viz their beliefs and deeds.

7. In Arab jāhiliyyah some beastly fathers would bury alive their infant girl either because of fear of poverty or because of the overblown honour that someone will become their son-in-law. The verse refers to this practice. The purpose is to show that on the Day of Judgement the first ones who will be delivered justice will be those innocent who were victims of the oppression of those who were made their protectors.

8. As a result, each and every detail of people’s deeds will come before them.

9. The actual word is: كُشِطَت. It is a common Arabic word for stripping the hide of a camel. After stripping the hide of a slaughtered animal, its meat appears red; from this, the Qur’ān has used the word to connote the fact that the sky will look red. It is evident from the succeeding verses that this redness of the sky will be caused by the blazing flames of Hell.

10. The implication is that when the time will come to throw the criminals into it, it will be further set ablaze to burn them.

11. Ie., Paradise will be presented to its dwellers to honour them.

12. In order to divert the attention of people from the warnings sounded by the Qur’ān and to make them disillusioned one ploy concocted by the Quraysh was that just as soothsayers tell people the matters of the unseen world (ghayb) through inspiration received from the devils, this Qur’ān too, God forbid, is a similar thing and is being presented as a revelation from God.

13. The actual words are: الْخُنَّسِ الْجَوَارِ الْكُنَّسِ. In the Arabic language, so commonly do these adjectives occur for stars that a mention of the noun which they qualify (ie. stars) is not even needed. Here, these words graphically portray shooting stars which emerge from various observation posts in the sky, swiftly follow their target, strike it and return to hide in their posts. This arrangement made by the Almighty in the upper part of the skies is to stop devils and the jinn from intruding and intervening in divine affairs is found even in normal circumstances. However, the Qur’ān has made it evident in Sūrah Jinn that during the period of revelation of the Qur’ān, this vigil was so drastically intensified that when the Jinn saw it, they thought that some important matter is about to befall the inhabitants of the earth. The Qur’ān has presented this as evidence on the reality that the place from which it is being revealed is totally safe and secure from the interventions of any jinn or devil. So they should use their intellect; without doubt, this Book of God is a divine revelation. In no way can it be regarded as inspired from any devil.

14. The actual word is: عَسْعَسَ. It has two meanings: “to turn dark” as well as “to withdraw and turn away.” Here it is used in the second of these meanings because it is used in parallel to تَنَفَّسَ. Moreover, verses 32-33 of Sūrah Muddaththir the word أَدْبَرَ (draw away) is used in the same context –  which is decisive in preferring this second meaning.

15. The actual words are: وَالصُّبْحِ إِذَا تَنَفَّسَ. A special subtlety in this usage cannot be hidden from the connoisseurs of the language. These words say that the dawn is burdened with the weight of the night in such a manner as if it is gasping for breath until this burden is lifted and it is able to breathe and lift its head. The implication is that the Quraysh too are stuck under the burden of the nonsensical utterances of their soothsayers; if they observe carefully, they will find that the Qur’ān has lit up their surroundings like the dazzling dawn; when the dawn comes, no person having insight can say that it is night time; this Qur’ān shines on the darkness of their beliefs and deeds and is unique and distinct like such a dazzling dawn; those who regard it to be brought by the soothsayers have lost their senses; it has been brought by a messenger.

16. It is evident from the attributes mentioned subsequently that Archangel Gabriel is implied here. It is essential to understand the occasion of using the adjective كَرِيم (noble) for him. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

… The implication is that unfortunate are the people who regard this Qur’ān to be a claptrap of the soothsayers and call the Prophet of God a soothsayer. Whatever soothsayers present is from the devils and there is no truth in it. They claim to have knowledge of the world beyond; however, their devils are so accursed in the eyes of God that they are pelted with shooting stars if they try to eavesdrop what to speak of having access to that world. On the contrary, the Book which is being recited to them has been brought by a Messenger of God who commands great respect in God’s presence and is very honourable and favoured. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 9, 220)

17. The actual words are: مُطَاعٍ ثَمَّ أَمِينٍ. The wordثَمَّ  is used for specifically pointing towards something and is also used before an attribute to emphasize it. It has been pointed out that these are the attributes of Gabriel. A little deliberation shows that the purpose of mentioning them is to refer to what is said above: ie., such is his stature that no devil can dominate or overpower him in any way nor over-awe or influence him. Hence through him the Qur’ān reaches the heart of Muhammad from the High Realm (Malā’ A‘lā) with full protection; there is no chance for any devil to intervene in any way.

18. The actual word is: صَاحِبُكُم. It alludes in a very meaningful way to the fact that the Prophet (sws) had spent all his life as a very normal human being among the very people who were alleging that he was a diviner and soothsayer and what not. They should think whether their conscience can really corroborate what their tongues say.

19. Ie., the Prophet’s vision was no illusion or fantasy. It was a very clear and distinct observation of the horizon about which no observer can have any doubt.

20. The actual words are: وَمَا هُوَ عَلَى الْغَيْبِ بِضَنِينٍ. The word ضَنِين means someone who is stingy. However, the preposition used with it is عَلَى and not ب. Hence, according to linguistic principles, it encompasses the meaning of “keenness” in it. The implication is that the messenger of God is not like their soothsayers and ascetics who indulge in meditation and various practices and ploys to try to pry into the matters of the unseen world. On the other hand, the revelation he presents before the disbelievers comes to him through an involuntary process and is presenting it before them at the bidding of the Almighty.

21. The actual word is: رَجِيم. It means “one who has been stoned.” It occurs in contrast to the attribute كَرِيم (noble) of Gabriel, the trustworthy. The implication is that he who has brought down the Qur’ān is an exalted angel of God, and the devils which descend on these soothsayers of the Quraysh are bombarded and propelled away by meteors and shooting stars; how can they be those who bring down the Qur’ān?

22. Ie., according to His law, He guides only those who make themselves worthy of His guidance and leads astray only those who deserve it because they misuse the will and intention given to them.

23. Ie., when the cataclysm of the Day of Judgement arrives, this sky which appears so strong will have fissures all over it. What will it look like? Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

… The exact shape and form of this destruction cannot be imagined; however, a reminder of this day is sounded so that the rich and the arrogant who are today living without any fear of this day by relying on the strength of their castles and buildings are cautioned and prodded; they are warned that such a great upheaval will take place on that day that the roof of this whole world will be shattered and cavities will appear all over it what to speak of man-made structures. This roof which appears strong, flawless and resilient to them will be ruptured on that day. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 9, 239)

24. The actual word is فُجِّرَتْ: The meaning conveyed by it is the same as the one conveyed by سُجِّرَتْ, which occurs in the previous sūrah. The first word refers to the unrestrained nature of the seas while the second to their tumultuous nature.

25. Ie., the evil deeds they have sent forward and the good deeds whose longing they have left behind.

26. The address though is general yet it is evident from verse nine ahead that it is in fact directed at the leadership of the Quraysh who are the addressees of this sūrah.

27. Ie., if the Almighty does not immediately seizes them for every wrong they commit, then has this magnanimity on His part misled them? If this is the case, then they have indeed lured themselves away from reality.

28. The implication is that how do they think about the Lord whose afore-mentioned signs of power and favours they see and still think that He will not distinguish their good people from their evil and to make this distinction He will not be able to raise them to life after death if He intends.

29. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī has elaborated on this concise statement as follows:

Here, it should be kept in mind that at times a person wants to refute something but since he does not find any possibility for this, he starts raising irrelevant questions so that the door to doubt and distrust is opened. The disbelievers of the Quraysh found themselves in such a situation. They knew that denying reward and punishment would be denying something obvious; however, they did not want to accept and acknowledge it too. For this reason, they would invent baseless doubts and try to give the false impression that they had certain reasons on the basis of which they were rejecting the warnings of the Qur’ān. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 9, 243)

30. Hence they should not think that who can be aware of their open and secret affairs in order to hold them accountable for them.

31. The actual word is: كِرَام. It alludes to the fact that these scribes are very dutiful and conscientious. Their vigilance never gives way to indolence or sluggishness nor do they melt under pressure from anyone to add something from their own.

32. Ie., God is aware of their words and deeds. It is further explained in Sūrah Qāf that these angels are two and guard a person from both right and left.

33. From here onwards is a mention of the consequence of the elaborate arrangement referred to earlier: when God is guarding His creatures, how is it possible that He deal with the virtuous and the wicked in the same manner? Certainly not! He will necessarily admit the virtuous into Paradise and the wicked into Hell. If He does not do so, then it shall have to be believed that this world is a place in which justice and fairness have no place.

34. Ie., what is said at other places by the words: خَاِلِدِيْنَ فِيْهَا أَبَداً (they shall dwell therein forever).

35. The singular address used here is not for the Prophet (sws). It is for the same people as were addressed in an earlier verse مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ الْكَرِيمِ (what is it that has deceived you about your Beneficent Lord).

36. This question raised is not meant to elicit an answer. It is meant to portray the horror of that Day. The repetition of the query has intensified this horror.

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