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Uncovering the blessings and warnings from Surah Naba

Theme and Subject Matter:

Its theme is to affirm the Resurrection and Hereafter, and to warn the people of the consequences of accepting or denying it. When the Prophet (S) first started to preach Islam in Makkah, his message consisted of three elements:

(1) That none be held as an associate with Allah in Godhead;

(2) That Allah had appointed him as His Messenger;

(3) That this world will come to an end one day and then another world will be established when all the former and the latter generations will be resurrected and called to account for their beliefs and deeds.

Of these although the first thing was highly unpleasant for the people of Makkah, yet in any case they were not disbelievers in the existence of Allah. They believed in His Being the Supreme Sustainer, Creator and Providence and also admitted that all those beings whom they regarded as their deities, were themselves Allah’s creatures. Therefore, in this regard the only thing they disputed was whether they had any share in the attributes and powers of Divinity and in the Divine Being itself or not.

As for the second thing, the people of Makkah were not prepared to accept it. However, what they could not possibly deny was that during the 40 years life that the Prophet (s) had lived among them before his claim to Prophet hood, they had never found him a lying deceitful person or the one who would adopt unlawful methods for selfish ends. They themselves admitted that he was wise, righteous and possessed moral superiority. Therefore, in spite of charging him with a thousand false accusations, nothing to say of making others believe, they were finding it difficult even for themselves to believe that although he was an honest and upright man in every other affair and dealing of life, yet, God forbid, a liar only in his claim to be a Prophet.

Thus, the first two things were not in fact so perplexing for the people of Makkah as the third thing. When this was presented before them, they mocked it most of all, expressed unusual wonder at it, and started talking against it as something inconceivable. But in order to bring them to the way of Islam it was absolutely essential that the doctrine of the Hereafter should be instilled into their minds, for without belief in this doctrine, it was not at all possible that they could adopt a serious attitude with regard to the truth and falsehood, could change their standard of values in respect of good and evil, and giving up worship of the world, could be inclined to follow the way that Islam urged them to follow. That is why in the earliest Surahs revealed at Makkah the doctrine of the Hereafter has been impressed and stressed more than anything else.

In the Surah, reference has been made to the common talk and the doubts that were being expressed in every street of Makkah and in every assembly on hearing the news about Resurrection. Did you ever hear that the dead will be resurrected to life? Is it credible that life will be infused once again into the bones which have decayed and become rotten? Does it stand to reason that the former and the latter generations will rise up and gather together at one place? Is it possible that these huge mountains which are so firmly set in the earth will fly about like flakes of wool? Can it so happen that the sun and the moon and the stars should be extinguished and the order and system of the world be overturned and upset? What has happened to him who was until yesterday a sane and wise man among us? Today he is giving us strange, impossible news. Where were this Hell and Heaven of which we had never heard from him before? Wherefrom have they appeared suddenly so that he has started depicting them so vividly before us? They have been asking all over the Qur’an: “Are we going to be raised again, after we have been withered away in our graves?” When Allah said, “On the hell fire, nineteen guardians of the angels have been appointed.” One of the disbelievers said, “There are only nineteen? I can handle nineteen.” These were the kinds of criticisms and questions they had.

Allah starts to give the people eye openers. So, you are in disagreement? So, you are questioning the validity of the message of the Prophet (s)? You think that there is no God? You think that Allah the Almighty will not send a Messenger with His book to guide people from darkness unto light? You still doubt this? So Allah is giving eye openers to those who do not believe in resurrection.

Allah went on to ask: Don't you see this earth spread out as a carpet for you? Don't you see the high mountains firmly placed? Don't you consider your own selves how you have been created in pairs? Don't you consider your sleep as a means to rest to keep you fit for work? Don't you see the alternation of the night and day? Don't you see the strongly fortified system of the heavens above you? Don't you see the sun giving you light and heat? Don't you see the rains falling from the clouds and helping your grow your produce? Do these things only tell you that the power of the Almighty Being who has created them, will be unable to bring about Resurrection and establish the Next World? Then, do you only understand this that although each part of the universe and each function of it is purposive, yet life is meaningless and there will be no accountability?

After giving these arguments it has been emphatically stated that the Day of Judgment shall certainly come to pass on its appointed time. No sooner is the Trumpet sounded than whatever is being foretold shall appear before the eyes, and whether you believe in it today, or not, at that time you will come out in your multitudes from wherever you would be lying dead and buried to render your account. Your denial cannot in any way avert this inevitable event.

Every single misdeed of those who do not expect any accountability to take place and have thus belied Allah’s Revelations, lies reckoned and recorded with us, and Hell is ever lying an ambush to punish them and punish them fully for all their doings. Then, the rewards of those who lived as responsible people in the world and have provided for their Hereafter beforehand have been mentioned. They have been reassured that they will not only be rewarded richly for their services but in addition they will also be given sufficient gifts.

In conclusion, the Divine Court in the Hereafter has been depicted, making it plain that there will be no question of somebody’s being adamant in the matter of getting his followers and associates forgiven, none will speak without leave, and leave will be granted on the condition that intercession be made only for the one to whom leave of intercession will have been given, and the intercessor will say only what is right. Moreover, leave for intercession will be given only for those who had acknowledged the Truth in the world but were sinners; rebels of Allah and rejectersof the Truth will deserve no intercession at all.

The discourse has been concluded with this warning: The Day the coming of which is being foretold, shall certainly come to pass. Do not think it is yet far off, it is close at hand. Now, whoever wills, let him believe in it and take the way towards his Lord. But he who disbelieves, in spite of the warning, will have all his deeds placed before him and he will exclaim regretfully: “Oh, I wish that I were dust!” [78:40]. At that time, his regrets will be about the same world of which he is so enamored today!

Tafseer Surah an-Naba’

The connection with the previous surah

1. The Surah that precedes Surah An-Naba’ is Surah Mursalat. When we read this surah, 1 verse is repeated over and over again. 

وَيْلٌ لِلنَّاكِينَ ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمWoe, that Day, to the deniers.

In this surah (Naba) it seems as though Allah is responding to the deniers of the Day of Judgment, by saying in this Surah (kalla, saya’lamun-NO! They will come to know). They will know the reality of what they were lying about. This in response to the verse that is being repeated in Surah Mursalat.

2. Also in Surah Mursalat Allah says (wa ma adraka ma yawmul fasl-And what can make you know what is the Day of FASL (separation)? but Allah does not tell us what this Day of FASL (separation) is. Does Allah answer it in that surah? No. He answers this question in Surah Naba’ (inna yawmul fasl kaana mi qaata) Indeed, the Day of FASL is an appointed time.

3. Also in Surah Mursalat we (mentioned) find two groups of people. In Mursalaat, we found two groups of people, the people of taqwa (mutaqeena fi dhalim ‘oyoon (ayah 41 innal muttaqeena fi dhilalin wa uyun)). Also, the people who are mentioned over and over are the mukadhibeen, the deniers. And we find the same two groups in Surah An-Naba.

So we can see a clear relationship between this surah and the one that preceded it. In fact it is as if Surah An-Naba is explaining in detail what was mentioned in Surah Mursalat.

Surah Naba Tafseer

Section 1: AYAT 1-5 THE DENIAL

Ayah 1: Amma ya tasa alun

Translation: About what are they asking one another?

Here Allah is commenting on a discussion that is taking place between three groups of disbelievers. There are three opinions about the tafseer of the word yatasaa`alu(they are asking one another).

1. It is a depiction of believers being asked by disbelievers.

2. This is a discourse that is taking place between the disbelievers.

3. Both the disbelievers and the believers are asking the Messenger of Allah.

The one that is most true and is supported by the text is #2 – the disbelievers asking one another.

In general, when a group of people are mutually discussing a question among themselves, it is done for one or 2 reasons; genuinely inquisitive or they’re being sarcastic and trying to undermine the other person.

In this ayah, we realize that while the disbelievers are discussing this among themselves, there’s a third party listening to their discourse: Allah. Allah is responding to their sarcastic comments in the surah. Allah has taken offense to their sarcasm and the way they speak about the hereafter

Ayah 2: Anin nab ail azeem

Translation: concerning the great news

Then Allah continues and answers himself: “Are they really asking about naba` ul adheem?” An Naba` means “news.” There are two words in Arabic for news: naba` and khabr. What is the difference? First of all, Naba` is a greater kind of news`. If the store closes at seven, that is khabr. If someone won the election or a war started, that would be naba`. The adjective ‘atheem (tremendous and extraordinary) is added for greater emphasis, although the news in itself is sufficient to agitate the heart.

So combining this ayah with the previous one, we can understand that Allah is asking: is it true that the disbelievers are asking one another of this enormousevent in such a sarcastic tone? The news of the Day of Judgment is supposed to lead them to some sort of action but instead it is leading them to this kind of ridicule.

Ayah 3: Allathee hum feehi mukhtalifoon

About which they are in disagreement.

Some believe in it and some reject it, while some are doubtful and hesitant.

The word ikhtilaaf indicates two things: an actual physical disagreement; Not only did they disagree about it, but they all had their own ideas of what is going to happen. Examples; some of them thought that Allah has daughters that are the angels which would put in a good word for them. Others said, Allah has so many things going on, how does He have

Ikhtilaaf also means to have a friction or discord within one’s self. This implies that not only did they disagree with one another, but they had uncertainty within themselves. They weren’t adamant about being saved or there being no afterlife, but they were uncertain. Such examples are; someone has been influenced by the Christian belief and believes in the life after death but thinks that the second life would not be a physical but only a spiritual life. Another does not deny the Hereafter absolutely but doubts whether it was possible or not. The Quran relates the view of these very people when it says: We do only guess: we are not certain. (Surah Al-Jathiyah, Ayat 32). Then, there were some atheists, who said: Life is only this worldly life of ours. There were some others who were not atheistic but they regarded the second life as impossible. According to them it was beyond the power of God to raise the dead back to life. They said: Who will give life to these bones when they are rotten. (Surah YaSeen, Ayat 78). Their different views by themselves were a proof that they had no knowledge in this regard; they were only conjecturing and guessing. Had they any knowledge, they would have agreed on one view.

Ayah 4: Kalla saya'lamoon

Nay, they will come to know!

The Surah does not provide any more details about the event in question rather a threat is given, “No! They are going to know. The answer comes from Allah as a severe warning and threat. He reproaches those who continue to doubt the Resurrection after they have been warned; and He confirms that they will indeed experience it. Allah declares that those who have belied this great news will eventually know it with certainty; when they witness it themselves on the Day of Judgment.

According to many grammarians from Basra, they say (kalla) it has to do with “stop.” The disbelievers are running their mouths, and all of a sudden, Allah says “stop!” If you say kalla, pause, and then continue, it means one thing. On the other hand, if you say it together, as it is in the ayah, it means something else. Some grammarians say that it is ok to read kalla, stop, and then continue. Meaning, “Stop! Stop this nonsense!”

On the other hand, if you continue and don’t stop – which is the text of the ayah – then kalla is associated with haqqan. Which is, truly you are going to find out.

Ayah 5: Thumma kalla saya'lamoon

Nay, again, they will come to know!

Allah says: kalla sa ya’lamoon, thumma kalla sa ya’lamoon. This has been repeated. Often times, it is argued that this is done only for mubalagha, or in English, hyperbole – to emphasize something. There are 2 opinions on why there was repetition. The first opinion is the ayah is repeated to stress the point or to show anger/tension/friction. This is the opinion supported by Imam Ibn Katheer. He said the repetition was a threat from Allah to those who deny resurrection. Some scholars have suggested that the verse is repeated to indicate that they will come to know the reality in two phases: at the time of death and in the Hereafter, when they see the Hellfire before them. But Allah knows best.

Section 2: Ayat 6-16: Human Inability and the Power of Allah

Ayah 6: Alam naj'alil-arda mihada

Have we not made the earth as a wide expanse?

Then Allah went on to explain his favors and blessings he bestows on his servants so they may acknowledge them and become thankful for them, he says [Have we not made the earth spread flat?] Allah made the earth appear to creation as flat; it is not, for the most part, hard and rigid to where cultivation is impossible, nor is it difficult to walk upon. The ground is also not so soft and loose to where people gain no benefit from it. Instead it is flat, spread out for them for their own well-being so they may benefit from it.

The word mahd/mihad is the cradle, or even the womb of the mother, or the cradle in which the child is comfortable

Ayah 7: Waljibala awtada

And the mountains as pegs?

The Qur’ān draws on analogies that people can relate to. And what is a peg? A peg is something you put deep into the earth to hold something. So, it is like a rod. A peg is used with tents. As tents were common at the time of revelation, it states that Allah made the mountains as stakes, with a function similar to those holding a tent in place. The purpose of mountains has been stated in this and other surahs – to stabilize the land and balance the earth. They regulate the motion of the earth and prevent its crust from excessive movement.

Ayah 8: Wakhalaqnakum azwaja

And we have created you in pairs

Meaning, he created us of different, complimentary kinds: male and female, small and big, black and red, sad and happy, and other traits in which people differ. So people are of varying kinds according to what Allah wants and sees appropriate, and according to his wisdom. In this way too, people may consider and respect the power of Allah in that he is capable of making mankind, who were created from a single substance, from a single father, into so many clearly varying types.

Ayah 9: Waja'alna nawmakum subata

And we made your sleep (a means for) rest]

Meaning, he made it as a means of relief from fatigue. So sleep relieves one’s previous exhaustion and work. By it, people are replenished with energy for the next day. So you find someone who is worn out, exhausted; after he sleeps, he is again full of vigor and liveliness. The word Subat combines the meanings of quiet, stillness and rest with that of separation. The sleeper is separated from the activities of his life and the soul is separated from the body. This recurrent period of rest serves to revive and restore the mind and body. It is among the miracles of Allah which remains a mystery to modern science

Ayah 10: Waja'alna al Layla libasa

And have made the night as a covering (through its darkness),

The night is described as a garment in view of the fact that it covers the earth like a blanket and covers the body, obscuring it and providing privacy during sleep. The physical universe operates in harmony with the needs of its creatures and indicates the design of a merciful Creator. Allah made the night upon earth like clothing as if the earth wears the night, it being a complete covering forthe earth. And a person will not know the reality of this unless he has viewed the earth from high above. We have seen that; one of the most amazing signs is that when you fly in a plane and reach a high enough altitude that the sun is not quite visible from the earth’s surface but you begin to see it rise from the sky, you see that the earth below is as if it is clothed in black from the night

Ayah 11: Waja'alna an-nahara ma'aasha

And we made the day for seeking livelihood

While darkness serves to impose sleep, daylight encourages activity. The day has been provided by Allah as a period of exertion for people to seek provision and accomplish their objectives in life. He made it bright and illuminating so that they, as well as other living creatures, would be able to move about easily and attend to their affairs.

Ayah 12: Wabanayna fawqakum sab'an shidada

And constructed above you seven strong [heavens]

They are seven firm heavens in layers, one over the other, perfectly and precisely constructed without visible supports, as mentioned in the Qur’ān. Filled with countless stars and planets, the nearest heaven is sufficient as evidence of an all-powerful Creator.

Ayah 13: Waja'alna sirajan wahhaja

[And we made (therein) a burning lamp]

Siraaj in Arabic refers to anything that emits light. In the Qur’an, it consistently refers to the sun. Wahhaaja means brilliant and blazing. Of all the fires we can kindle on the earth, or the chandeliers we create, what can compare to this creation of Allah? It is an illustration of the powerlessness of the human being. Here it refers to the sun, a shining lamp of extremely intense heat [burning].The sun is blazing and fiery, and the heat it produces during the days of summer is extremely intense despite its great distance from the earth

Ayah 14: Wa anzalna minalmu'sirati maa'an thajjaja

And have sent down from the rainy clouds abundant water.

Minal mu’siraat” A’saara or I’saar is to squeeze. One opinion is that it is referring to the wind squeezing the clouds, then the clouds drip rain. It is also used for the clouds full of so much water that they drip rain. “Maa ‘an thajaaja”: Thajaaja means overflow of heavy rain, or profuse rain. The water overpowers humans by being too much or too less. If Allah doesn’t send it, it can create death and famine. If it comes too much, then there canalso be death and destruction. Allah is again illustrating His power over the human being.

Ayah 15: Linukhrija bihi habban wanabata

[That we may bring forth thereby grain and vegetation]

The word habban is used for all kinds of grain, wheat and crop. Nabaat is used for all kinds of grass or vegetation. Basically, it is all the sustenance of the earth. Without vegetation, there is no life on earth. When the clouds release their abundance of stored water upon a dead land, it revives the earth and produces a growth of vegetation as provision for its living creatures.

Ayah 16: Wajannaatin alfafa

And gardens of luxurious growth

Beyond that – lush gardens. Alfaaf is the plural of lafeef (though there are other opinions), which means that which wraps around. So the idea is that the plants are intricately tangled. The plants are so lush and abundant that you can’t tell where one begins or ends. That is the imagery being presented. Gardens and orchards intertwining from the abundance of growth and beauty, and trees and bushes, with their trunks and branches winding and curving

Section 3 – That Which You Denied: ayah 17-40

So, to look back, the first section was about the denial of the hereafter. The second section was about human inability and the power of Allah. The third section, now that Allah has put everyone in their place, is about that which you denied.

Ayah 17: Inna yawma alfasli kaana meeqat

[Indeed, the Day of Judgment is an appointed time]

Al Fasl is to take two things and separate them so much that they are clearly apart from one another. Yowm al Faslis a day of clear separation. The scholars commented that the Day of Judgment is the day truth will be separated from falsehood. Followers being separated from their leaders. Perhaps the most graphic separation: mother shall be separated from her child. So he will distinguish and separate between the people of truth and those of falsehood, the people of disbelief and those who believed, the people of injustice and aggression and those of justice and moderation. And he will separate the people of Paradise from the people of the fire – a group will be in Paradise and a group in flames. Al fasl is the Day of Resurrection. It is the time of Allah's judgment when all things will become clearly differentiated and distinct from one another.

Ayah 18: Yawma yunfakhu fee assoorifata'toona afwaaja

[The day the horn is blown and you will come forth in multitudes]

Literally, soor means horn. Now that the Day of Judgment has been introduced, the following ayahs will describe the event of that day. When the appointed time arrives the whole universe will undergo awesome changes. All creatures will then be brought back to life on a newly created earth and all of mankind will be gathered for the Judgment. As for the one who will blow, the one responsible for this horn, he is the angel Israfil. He will blow in the horn twice: the first time, all people alive at that time will be terrified, so shocked that they will all fall down dead; the second time, all people will be resurrected from their graves and their souls will be returned to their bodies.Mankind will be given life again and will come forth from their graves all in one group or one group after another. And these groups – and Allah knows best – are the religious nations, each nation will be called to their book or their reckoning and will be brought to account. They will come in groups, arriving at a single, overwhelming, place.

Ayah 19: Wafutihati assamaa'u fakanat abwaba

[And the heaven is opened and will become as gateways

Allah is talking about those skies being ripped open, as though they were doors. What does it mean that they will be like doors? In construction – what is the loosest part of the room? The door is the loosest because it has hinges; it is the weakest part of the construction. Allah talks about this magnificent construction and then He says that it will all be as a door; very weak. You’ll see cracks all over the place. This is in contrast with what we see now – we can keep looking and not see any flaws. The skies will literally be opened, split apart and become gateways. People will watch this on that day, witnessing the heavens, once a well-preserved ceiling, become opened gateways. This is proof of the perfect and complete power of Allah.

Ayah 20: Wasuyyiratil jibaalu fakanat saraaba

[And the mountains are removed and will become as a mirage]

Allah then speaks of those same mountains whose magnificence He described before and how they will be suyyirah. Suyyira is talking about how the mountains will be easily moved. The last thing that you think of when you imagine something that is easily moved is mountains!Allah then says Fakaanat saraaba. This is talking about how the humans will see the mountains moving, and because such a sight is so unbelievable, they will think they are seeing a mirage. This is the first reality that they would know about – the Day of Judgment – now Allah will depict for them the Fire which they will come to know of.

Ayah 21: Inna jahannama kanat mirsada

Indeed, Hell has been lying in wait

Mirṣad refers to a place of observation, monitoring or ensnarement. The Hellfire is described as waiting in ambush, watching and prepared for those who had denied it in order to take them by surprise and capture them. It will seize them unaware, for they had never expected it, not having believed in its existence. It waits to receive the evildoers who will remain therein for unlimited time with no relief. The Prophet () mentioned that on Yawm al-Qiyāmah a narrow bridge will be erected over the pit of Hell. While the people destined for Paradise will succeed in crossing it, the unrepentant evildoers will be seized by claws like giant thorns along the path, pulling them into the Fire.

Ayah 22: Littagheena ma'aaba

For the transgressors – a place of return.

Who is it in ambush for – for at Tagheen-trangressor/rebellion

Ma’aaba – a place that they will have to keep going back to. This illustrates they are going to try to escape, but they keep being sucked back in.

The Hellfire waits to receive the transgressors who will then be seized, dragged and cast into its depths. This is an appropriate punishment in proportion to the crimes they had committed on earth, and is fully deserved by them. Their transgressions include unbelief, shirk, hypocrisy, tyranny, oppression, and in general, any major sins that have not been forgiven. They have transgressed against Allah by denying Him or associating another with Him, and against people by being unjust to them. Allah will restore justice and will never treat those who denied Him and rejected His guidance and protection in the same way as those who had loved and obeyed Him.

Ayah 23: Labitheena feeha ahqaba

In which they will remain for ages [unending]

The evildoers who refused belief and guidance will remain therein for unlimited periods of time with no relief. Their efforts to escape will be futile, and their pleas for relief will be ignored. Aḥqāb which means a long, unspecified period of time. Some early scholars estimated a length for it while others interpreted it as being endless. Even when considered to be a limited period, the fact that each period is followed by another indefinitely99 confirms that the Hellfire will be everlasting. Both interpretations have been applied according to the condition of its inhabitants. The Muslim believers who committed sins will not abide eternally in the Hellfire. They may serve time according to the wrongs they committed and then be released. If Allah wills, He can punish them in the Fire out of His justice and then bring them out of it due to His mercy and through the intercession of those allowed by Him. This is compatible with the first meaning. And it is much emphasized in the Qur’an and Sunnah that those who deny and reject faith until death with remain in Hell forever. This is compatible with the second meaning.

Ayah 24: La yathooqoona feehabardan wala sharaba

They will not taste therein [any] coolness or drink.

Lafha is a warm breeze and nafha is a cool breeze. Allah speaks of the least punishment in hell and says that even if the coolest breeze of hell fire reached them, it is so hot that they will cry out over and over again: “Destruction has fallen upon us! We had continuously been the wrong doers!” In desert life, the two joys you can have of relief from the desert are drinks and cool breezes. The expression in the Arabic language “his eyes became cool” is used for a man’s eyes getting relief after a sandstorm. Allah uses this expression to describe joy from wife and family. So we can see that coolness, in the Arabic culture, is a great pleasure. Allah will take that pleasure away in Hell. Allah refuses them any coolness with which they may cool themselves outwardly, and he refuses them any cool drink by which they may cool themselves inwardly.

Ayah 25: Illa hameeman wa ghassaqa

Except scalding water and intensely cold fluid (or foul pus)

This is the exception. They will have nothing except boiling water of the highest extreme temperature. As for the Arabic word, ghassāqan [intensely cold fluid (or foul pus)]the scholars of Quran interpretation say that this is an intensely cold drink having a putrid smell. So they will combine – and refuge is with Allah – between intensely hot water and intensely cold water so that they feel the punishment from two different perspectives: hot and cold. Other scholars say that ghassāqan refers instead to the pus which comes out of the people of the fire and whatever else is secreted from them of filth, sweat, etc. Either way, the verses indicate that they will taste nothing but a drink that will cut up their intestines from intense heat and will tear their insides from intense cold, we ask Allah for protection from this. When different types of punishment are combined in this way, the punishment is even further increased for the people of Hell.

Ayah 26: Jazaa'an wifaqa

An appropriate recompense.

The next ayah says: jazaa an wifaaqa. Jazaa` means payback; in it is included “you get what you work for.” But then Allah adds: wifaaq, it illustrates that there could be no punishment more appropriate. This is exactly – down to the last ounce – what they deserved. There is no torture or oppression; this is justice. This is a fitting and just consequence they have earned in exact proportion to the gravity of deeds and crimes they committed on earth. The penalty is justified as it is objective and equivalent to their sins of disbelief and shirk, their rejection of prophet hoodand denial of the resurrection. It is a punishment fully deserved by them.

Ayah 27: Innahum kanoo la yarjoona hisaba

Indeed they did not hope for a reckoning

Indeed, they were not expecting an account. They had allowed themselves to fall deeper and deeper into sin because they never expected to be called to account for their conduct and so denied Allah's revelation and His warnings. But Allah had kept track of everything they did, great and small, so they are condemned by their own records. Their arrogant defiance had gone so far as to dare the Prophet (s) to immediately produce what Allah had promised; otherwise he should not expect them to believe his message. The wording is very careful. Allah does not say that they didn’t expect accountability; He says that they didn’t hope for it. If you don’t expect something, that means you had no idea. When you don’t hope for it, it means that you heard and knew about it, but you hoped it wouldn’t come. You let your false hopes that the accounting would not come delude you.

Ayah 28: Wakazzaaboo bi-ayatinaa kizzaba

And denied Our signs with [emphatic] denial

This crime we just spoke of was inside of them. And that false hope led them to commit the second crime on the outside: they denied the ayaat. They did two things here: lied against themselves and then lied against the miraculous ayaat of Allah. Their denial, as the aforementioned verses affirm, was explicit, obstinate and persistent.

There are two types of ayaat: ayaat kowniyya (ayaat in existence) and Qur’aniyyah. This person refused to reflect on either of them. This includes lying against the Messengers, lying against the truth, character assassination, etc.

Ayah 29: Wakulla shay-in ahsaynahu kitaba

And all things we have recorded in a Book.

Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, had kept a precise account, transcribed by angels, of everything the deniers had said and done; so they will be condemned by their own words and deeds. ” ‘Ad means to count and ihsaa means to not only count it, but protect it and archive it. The scholars comment that this ayah of the Qur’an is the worse about ‘adhaab (punishment): every time they try to escape the punishment, they are entered into one that is worse than what they came out of

Ayah 30: Fathooqoo falan nazeedakum illa'athaaba

So taste [the penalty], and never will we increase you except in torment.

The evildoers will experience the reality of what they had denied and the consequence of their denial – punishment which will progressively increase in severity. Moreover, their arrogance toward Allah's warnings earned them humiliation: a voice taunting them, "Taste the result of your evil deeds and expect no relief, for your torment is only going to increase." Abdullah bin ʽAmr said, "Allah did not reveal any ayah more severe than this one against the inhabitants of the Hellfire. They will be in increasing torment forever.

Ayah 31: Inna lilmuttaqeena mafaza

Verily, for the Righteous, there will be a success (Paradise);

In contrast, the righteous who feared Allah on earth will have succeeded in securing the most complete attainment – escape from the calamity of the Hellfire, the fulfillment of their desires, the pleasures of Paradise and the approval of their Lord. The word mafāz denotes accomplishment, success, victory and a secure position, and is more suitable in this context than "reward" or "compensation." Ibn ʽAbbās described it as a place of enjoyable recreation. The righteous muttaqeen have been defined by scholars as believers in Muhammad (s) who do what he directed and refrain from what he prohibited. Ibn ʽAbbās said, "They are the believers who avoid association of anything with Allah and who strive to obey Him – those who fear the punishment which would result from abandoning His guidance that they have known.

Ayah 32: Hada-iqa wa'naaba

Gardens and graveyards

Then Allah describes the place: gardens. Hadeeqa is a garden with a tall fence, so it is a private type of garden. No one else has access to it. The food that is mentioned is grapes – and this is a two in one because it is a food that already has a drink in it. This is part of the success and attainment they will have. [Gardens] Meaning: gardens and orchards containing an abundance of magnificent trees and bushes of varying kinds.

Ayah 33: Wa kawa'iba atrial

And full-breasted [companions] of equal age

The Arabic word used here is kawā’ib, which means a woman whose breasts are apparent and do not droop or sag. Rather, they are raised and protruding similar, in the Arabic language, to the word for ankle, which also protrudes. And this is the most beautiful state of one’s chest. [of equal age] means that the women in Paradise will all be of one age; they will not differ in age like women in this life. If some were older or younger than others, perhaps the balanced harmony between them would be affected, or perhaps some may feel unhappy that they are not of the same standard as others. So they are of equal age.

Ayah 34: Waka'san dihaqa

And a cup full (to the brim).

Ka`s nowadays means a cup or glass, but in classical Arabic ka`s was only used when the glass was full of wine, or some expensive drink. So these glasses will be full of expensive and exotic drinks. The color of the drinks will be exotic, and it will also be splashing.

Ayah 35: La yasmaA'oona feeha laghwan wa laa kizzaba

No ill speech will they hear therein or any falsehood

Then Allah says they will not hear in those gardens laghw (useless talk) or kidhaab (when one person lies against another). Why Allah does mentioned these two specific things? In the beginning of the surah, the disbelievers are making useless talk. When they get to Jannah, the believers will not have to hear any of this. In Al ‘Imran, Allah says you will have to endure a lot of painful words from the kuffaar. Even the messengers were told to have beautiful patience. Once in Jannah, the believers will not have to worry about any of this. Also, believers are working for the deen constantly hear kidhaab – in the media. They hear people lying about the messengers, about the book of Allah, etc. In Jannah, they will no longer be tortured with these things.

Ayah 36: Jazaa'an min rabbika ataa'an hisaba

A reward from your lord, a sufficient gift

With the disbelievers, Allah said jazaa `an wifaaq – not more or less, but exactly what they deserve. Allah does not say wifaaq for Jannah, because He will give us more than what we deserve. Allah says Mir rabbika (from their rabb). Allah is the One Who gives, provides, nourishes, creates, takes care of – all of these positive connotations are included inside of the word rabb. Rabb was not used with the disbelievers, because there was no mention of mercy with them. Another way Allah mentions His Mercy is that He says rabbika – your Lord. Anywhere in the Qur’an where Allah speaks to His messengers, those are the most merciful places in the Qur’an. Allah adds on to that, saying ‘ataa`. ‘Ataa` is a grant/gift to someone who doesn’t deserve it. So the believers will be showered with gifts. Qataadah explained hisaab saying that this is like a saying in Arabic, in which you give so much to a person that they say, stop, I can’t take any more.

Ayah 37: Rabbi assamawati wal-ardi wamaa baynahuma arrahmani laa yamlikoona minhu khitaba

Lord of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them, the Most Merciful. They do not have from Him [authority for] speech.

Ar-Raheem is potential. You can say a person is merciful. That doesn’t mean he is always merciful, doing something merciful at every moment. When Allah is speaking of a mercy He is doing right in the moment, He doesn’t use ar-Raheem; He uses ar-Rahmaan. When there is a specific mercy mentioned, ar-Rahmaan is used. Ar-Raheem is more general. This special mercy of Allah is being given to the believers on the Day of Judgment. It is perfectly suited here because of all of the different levels of mercy Allah will bestow on the believers which were mentioned in the previous ayahs. From the disbelievers’ side – after hearing such a strong warning in this surah – may lose hope. Allah mentioning His Name, Ar-Rahmaan, gives hope to the disbeliever as well. Allah is exceedingly, unexpectedly merciful.

Ayah 38: Yawma yaqoomu arroohu walmalaa'ikatusaffan la yatakallamoona illa man athina lahu arrahmanu waqaala sawaba

The Day that Ar-Ruh [Jibrael (Gabriel) or another angel] and the angels will stand forth in rows, none shall speak except him whom the Most Beneficent (Allah) allows, and he will speak what is right.

But then Allah says: the day when ar-Ruh will stand and malaa`ika. There is almost ijmaa` [consensus] of the mufassiroon [the scholars of tafseer] that ar-Ruh refers to Jibreel ‘alayhis salaam (Gabriel) almost every time in the Qur’an. Usually in the Qur’an, we see the reverse order – the angels are mentioned first and then Jibreel. This is a reversal in the sequence. One of the scholars of balaagha, sh-Sha`raabi, commented on this: whenever you find a lot of movement, then angels are associated with going upand down and being in constant movement. There, you find malaa`ika mentioned first. When you find responsibility, Jibreel is mentioned first because he has the most responsibility. That is why Jibreel is mentioned first. Even the angels, when they stand in obedience before Allah, will not be able to speak or intercede for anyone unless He gives them permission. Even if onedoes speak, it will be very brief. People will be spoken to rather than them speaking. Permission will be granted by Allah to angels as well as to prophets, martyrs, scholars, and righteous Muslims to intercede on behalf of others. A person’s righteous deeds may also be allowed intercede for him. However, it is the final Prophet (s) who will have the greatest share of intercession.

Ayah 39: Dhalika alyawmu alhaqqu famanshaa ittakhatha ila rabbihi maaba

That is without doubt the True Day, so, whosoever wills, let him seek a place with (or a way to) His Lord (by obeying Him in this worldly life)

This verse carries both warning and good tidings, for Allah confirms that the Day of Resurrection will be a day of truth and justice and that it will certainly occur. This information has been given so that anyone who wishes may follow the straight path leading to the approval of Allah or may return to Him in repentance. The literal meaning of ma'āb is a place or thing to which one returns. Here it refers to the final return to the Creator. A believer seeks to follow the way of life which leads to a good return – i.e., the final abode of Paradise. The āyah contains an invitation to take a direct route to Allah’s forgiveness and His Paradise through correct beliefs and righteous deeds.

Ayah 40: Inna antharnakum 'athaaban qareeban yawma yanthuru almar'u maa qaddamatyadahu wayaqoolu alkafiru ya laytanee kuntu turaba

Indeed, We have warned you of a near punishment – on the Day when a man will see what his hands have put forth and the disbeliever will say, “Oh how I wish I were dust!”

In conclusion of this surah, Allah says, Inna antharnakum. It is indeed we who have warned you. The kaafir thinks that Muhammad (s) is warning him, but Allah is telling them that this is the Lord of the worlds who is warning them. They see it far away, but we see it very close. Allah has warned all obstinate disbelievers about His punishment, which is inevitable and as near as a person's death, when he leaves the earthly confines of time and space.

Lessons from surah

1. Allah created the world for the benefit of man.

2. The people of Jahannam will not taste soothing coolness, nor drink.

3. Those who think they are not going to be held to account, are doomed.

4. Allah has encompassed everything in writing.

5. On the Day of Qiyāmah, there will be a huge exhibition of Allah’s Control. All the angels will be lined up, and no one shall have the courage to speak except the one given permission by Allah.

6. The promised day of resurrection is imminent and disbelievers who do not heed the warnings would receive their torment and would eventually wish that they be reformed as dust.

7. In this, the Qur’an uses the technique of tarhib and targhib (discouragement and encouragement) as a form of motivation. We could relate this to the fact that everything we do is based on two essential motivations: pain (rahbah) and pleasure (raghbah).This applies to almost everything in life



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