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Sūrahs Takwīr - Infitār
Qur'anic Exegesis
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)



Both these sūrahs form a pair with relation to the subject discussed in them.

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 of the results of their deeds.

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.

Sūrah Takvīr

إِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَتْ  وَإِذَا النُّجُومُ انكَدَرَتْ  وَإِذَا الْجِبَالُ سُيِّرَتْ  وَإِذَا الْعِشَارُ عُطِّلَتْ  وَإِذَا الْوُحُوشُ حُشِرَتْ  وَإِذَا الْبِحَارُ سُجِّرَتْ  وَإِذَا النُّفُوسُ زُوِّجَتْ  وَإِذَا الْمَوْؤُودَةُ سُئِلَتْ  بِأَيِّ ذَنبٍ قُتِلَتْ  وَإِذَا الصُّحُفُ نُشِرَتْ  وَإِذَا السَّمَاء كُشِطَتْ  وَإِذَا الْجَحِيمُ سُعِّرَتْ  وَإِذَا الْجَنَّةُ أُزْلِفَتْ  عَلِمَتْ نَفْسٌ مَّا أَحْضَرَتْ (١-١٤)

فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِالْخُنَّسِ  الْجَوَارِ الْكُنَّسِ  وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا عَسْعَسَ  وَالصُّبْحِ إِذَا تَنَفَّسَ  إِنَّهُ لَقَوْلُ رَسُولٍ كَرِيمٍ  ذِي قُوَّةٍ عِندَ ذِي الْعَرْشِ مَكِينٍ  مُطَاعٍ ثَمَّ أَمِينٍ (١٥-٢١)

وَمَا صَاحِبُكُم بِمَجْنُونٍ  وَلَقَدْ رَآهُ بِالْأُفُقِ الْمُبِينِ  وَمَا هُوَ عَلَى الْغَيْبِ بِضَنِينٍ  وَمَا هُوَ بِقَوْلِ شَيْطَانٍ رَجِيمٍ (٢٢-٢٥)

فَأَيْنَ تَذْهَبُونَ  إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِّلْعَالَمِينَ  لِمَن شَاء مِنكُمْ أَن يَسْتَقِيمَ  وَمَا تَشَاؤُونَ إِلَّا أَن يَشَاء اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ (٢٦-٢٩)

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

At the time1 [O people!] when the sun ceases to shine, and when the stars are bedimmed, and when the mountains are set moving, and when camels, ten-months pregnant are left untended2, and when wild beasts [forgetting all their enmities] are herded together3, and when the seas burst forth, and at the time when [in that world] souls are grouped [according to their deeds]4, and when the infant girl, who was buried alive is asked for what sin was she slain5, and when the scrolls [of men’s deeds]  are  laid  open,  and  when  the  skies  are  stripped bare6, and when Hell is set ablaze7, and when Paradise is brought near8, then [O people! each one of you] will know what he has brought forward9.  (1-14)

[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]. Verily, I call to witness the stars10 which recede, traverse [the skies, pelt fire on these devils] and then hide11 and [I call to witness] the night as it retreats and the dawn when [being relieved of this burden] it breathes12 --- [and in this way becomes a reminder of the Day of Judgement]13 --- that this is the word of a noble messenger14 , endued with power, held in honour before the Lord of the Throne, obeyed in Heaven, moreover trustworthy15.  (15-21)

And [O people of Quraysh!] your companion16 is not one possessed, and verily he saw him [-- the noble messenger --] on the clear horizon17 [and like these soothsayers of yours,] he has never  been  avid  for the Unseen18, and [when this is a fact, then this is also a fact that] this is not the utterance of an accursed devil19. (22-25)

Whither then are you going? This is nothing but a reminder to the people of the world who intend to remain on the right path20. And [O people!] you cannot intend [to remain on the right path unless the Almighty intends so [according to His laws]21. (26-29)

Sūrah Infitār

إِذَا السَّمَاء انفَطَرَتْ  وَإِذَا الْكَوَاكِبُ انتَثَرَتْ  وَإِذَا الْبِحَارُ فُجِّرَتْ  وَإِذَا الْقُبُورُ بُعْثِرَتْ  عَلِمَتْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ وَأَخَّرَتْ (١-٥)

يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنسَانُ مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ الْكَرِيمِ  الَّذِي خَلَقَكَ فَسَوَّاكَ فَعَدَلَكَ  فِي أَيِّ صُورَةٍ مَّا شَاء رَكَّبَكَ (٦-٨)

كَلَّا بَلْ تُكَذِّبُونَ بِالدِّينِ  وَإِنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ لَحَافِظِينَ  كِرَامًا كَاتِبِينَ  يَعْلَمُونَ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ (٩-١٢)

إِنَّ الْأَبْرَارَ لَفِي نَعِيمٍ  وَإِنَّ الْفُجَّارَ لَفِي جَحِيمٍ  يَصْلَوْنَهَا يَوْمَ الدِّينِ  وَمَا هُمْ عَنْهَا بِغَائِبِينَ (١٣-١٦)

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ  ثُمَّ مَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ  يَوْمَ لَا تَمْلِكُ نَفْسٌ لِّنَفْسٍ شَيْئًا وَالْأَمْرُ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلَّهِ (١٧-١٩)

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

At the time22 [O People!] when the sky is rent asunder, and when the stars are scattered,23 and when the seas burst forth, and when the graves are opened, at that time  each one [of  these people who have wronged their souls] will come to know what he has sent forward and what he has left behind24.  (1-5)

O man25! [you do not believe in this reality! It is strange indeed!] What is it that has lured you away from your Beneficent26 Lord, who27 created you, then fashioned28 you and then gave you due proportion29 [such that] He put you together in whatever shape He pleased30.  (6-8)

Certainly not! [whatever you say about that Day is baseless]; in fact, you want to deny reward and punishment31, whereas [appointed] over you are guardians32, noble scribes33. They know what you do.34 (9-12)

The righteous shall surely dwell in bliss and these wicked ones shall be in Hell35; they will enter it on the Day of Judgement, and they will never be able to disappear from it36. (13-16)

What do you understand of that Day of Judgement? Speak up: What do you understand of that Day of Judgement?37 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 Allah.  (17-19)












1. In the first six verses, some of the great upheavals which will take place on the Day of Judgement before people are brought back to life are depicted.

2. Each person will be totally engrossed in what is happening with his own self, neglectin g even his dearest of possessions. A ten-months pregnant she-camel is about to give birth to its offspring, and as such is held very dear by its owner. This mention seems very pertinent for the foremost addressees of the Qur’ān: the Quraysh, for whom camels formed a very essential part of life. In normal circumstances, such animals were the most sedulously cared for and were regarded as their most prized property.

3. Such will be the extent of horror and fear on that day that even animals which are instinctively hostile to one another will forget their natural enmities.

4. This refers to the three categories alluded to by the Qur’ān in Sūrah Wāqi‘ah in the following words: `You shall become three groups’ (56:7). The sūrah goes on to describe these categories: The Sābiqūn (the foremost) and the ‘Ashābu’l yamīn (the companions of the right hand) will dwell in the eternal bliss of Heaven, while the Ashābu’l shimāl (the companions of the left hand) will face the ignominy of Hell.

5. This refers to a heinous practice of the Arab Jāhilliyyah  period. The purpose is to bring to light the fact that the foremost injustice which would be redressed on that day would be the one in which people were oppressed and wronged by the very ones who were their custodians.

6. The metaphor is exquisite. The verb kashata means to strip open the skin of a camel, after which its red-tinged meat is exposed. The Qur’ān has used this verb to convey the fact that the sky will become red because of the burning flames of Hell.

7. That is Hell will be ignited further before the wrongdoers are cast into it.

8. That is Paradise will be presented before them to honour them.

9. This refers to the deeds on the basis of which each person will be rewarded or punished.

10. Here the testimony of the stars is presented to negate the claim of the Quraysh that the Qur’ān also, God forbid, is a product of inspirations from the devil, just as soothsayers informed them of the unknown by keeping in touch with devils.

11. This is a graphic portrayal of shooting stars which emerge from various observation posts in the sky, swiftly follow their target, strike it and return to 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. During the periods of revelation, this vigil is drastically intensified, as is evident from the remarks of the jinn-folk in Sūrah Jinn. 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. It is, without doubt, the Word of Allah, and can in no way be regarded as being inspired from any evil being.

12. A very subtle personification. The dawn finds it difficult to breathe under the heavy burden of the night, until it is relieved of this burden and is able to breathe freely.

13. The emerging of dawn from night reminds man of another dawn which will one day appear on the horizon and signal the beginning of a new world. In this way, this phenomenon testifies to the indhār of the Qur’ān about Day of Judgement, and this resultantly substantiates the fact that the Qur’ān has been brought down by a noble messenger.

14. It is evident from the attributes mentioned subsequently that archangel Gabriel is implied here.

15. The purpose of mentioning these attributes of Gabriel is to reinforce the premise stated earlier. Such is the lofty status of Gabriel that no devil can influence him in any manner. It is he who brings forth the Qur’ān to the Prophet (sws), and no devil can even come near him.

16. These words allude 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. They must not forget his past when they themselves used to acknowledge his impeccable character and flawless conduct, and never saw him indulging in such pursuits.

17. That is the Prophet’s vision was no illusion or fantasy. It was a very clear and distinct perception.

18. That is his knowledge of the unseen is not the result of his own endeavours. The Almighty has blessed him with this knowledge, and he has received it involuntarily.

19. This is a contrasting parallel to the earlier verse: This is the word of a noble messenger. The word rajīm translated for want of a better word as ‘accursed’ literally means `one who has been stoned’. It refers to the meteors and shooting stars which are pelted at devils when they make their way up in the skies.

20. This, at the end of a sūrah, is a very effective and forceful piece of advice. The Qur’ān is but a reminder of an event which is bound to happen. It is in the very interest of its addressees to pay heed to what it says.

21. That is according to His law, He guides only those who make themselves worthy of His guidance and leads astray only those who deserve it.

22. The beginning of this sūrah distinctly resembles the beginning of the previous one. Some events of the tremendous cataclysm which will take place on the Day of Judgement are depicted. The style is meant to shake and awaken the Quraysh who were totally oblivious of the repercussions of this event. They are told that when this immense upheaval takes place, even the greatest and the steadiest things of this world will be totally destroyed, what to mention the citadels and strongholds in which they feel very safe and sound today.

23. The picture is that of a necklace whose beads are scattered when the thread which joins them together is shaken out.

24. That is the evil deeds they have sent forward and the good deeds whose longing they have left behind.

25. The general address is in fact directed at the leadership of the Quraysh as is evident from verse 9.

26. That is if the Lord has given them the chance and opportunity to exercise their free will until a certain time and if He does not immediately seizes them for every wrong they commit, then this magnanimity on His part must not give them wrong ideas. One day, He will apprehend them for their misdeeds. Instead of acknowledging the favours of their Beneficent Lord, they are misconstruing His beneficence.

27. The next few verses mention the signs of the Almighty’s power and wisdom in man which testify that a day will come wherein the righteous and the wrongdoers will be treated according to their deeds and that bringing about such a day is a task very trivial for Allah.

28. That is man was not only created, he was perfected and given the ultimate form.

29. The pinnacle of this ultimate form is the balance, the human body possesses both physically and spiritually.

30. Such is the extent of the Almighty’s power and control that He has created each human being in a different mould. No two human beings are totally alike.

31. This is the real reason behind all objections and queries about the Day of Judgement: people do not want to believe in such a day; all their objections are mere excuses and form part of the escapist policy they have adopted in this regard.

32. That is the Quraysh must not think that the most secretive of their deeds is not in the knowledge of the Almighty.

33. The word kirām alludes to the fact that these scribes are very dutiful and conscientious. Their vigilance never gives way to indolence or sluggishness.

34. That is these scribes note each and every deed of a person. Cf (50:18)

35. This is the logical conclusion of the Almighty’s tremendous creativity in man’s creation and His all-embracing knowledge of every deed committed by a person.

36. That is Hell will be their eternal abode.

37. The repetition in the query is to bring out the awesome nature of the Day.

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