In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful
1. "By those (Angels)(winds) sent forth one after another,"
2. "And those who move as a hurricane;"
3. "By those who scatter far and wide,"
4. "And those who separate (one from another);"
5. "And by those who reveal the (Divine) Reminder,"
6. "To justify or to warn;"
7. "Surely that which you are promised (for the Resurrection) will befall."
8. "Then when the stars are extinguished;"
9. "And when the heaven is cleft asunder;"
10. "And when the mountains are carried away;"
11. "And when the prophets are called unto their time appointed
12. "For what Day is this (portent) deferred?"
13. "For the Day of Sorting out (right from wrong)".
14. "What do you know about the Day of Sorting out?".
15. "Ah woe, that Day, to the Rejecters of Truth!".
Allah's Promises Surely Befall! Woe to the Rejecters of Truth!
At the beginning of this Sura, there are five oaths in five verses about which many comments have been made and they are:
"By those (Angels) (winds) sent forth one after another,"
"And those who move as a hurricane;"
"And By those who scatter far and wide,"
"And those who separate (one from another);"
"And By those (the prophets) who reveal the (Divine) Reminder,"
"To justify or to warn;"
Now, let us see what these mysterious oaths, which announce some great events, mean. Here are three known ideas:
1. All five parts mean winds and hurricanes, which have an effective role in nature. If so, the verses mean:
"By the winds sent forth one after another.
"By the violent hurricanes which move;"
"By those which scatter clouds and bring down, to Earth, the lively droplets of rain through the clouds,"
"By those which scatter clouds after falling rain;"
"By the very winds which remind men of Allah,"
(Some others have said that the winds are of tormenting winds. This idea is opposite to the above, but it is also a reminder )
2. If all the oaths are sworn to Angels, then,the verses would mean:
"By the Angels sent forth (to the prophets) one after another,"
(or, the Angels sent forth with some definite known plans),"
"And by those who move, as a hurricane, to carry out their mission:
"By those who deliver the heavenly verses and scatter them,"
"And those who, by this action, separate purity from evil;"
"And those who give Allah's Messages and instructions to
3. The first and the second oaths are about winds and hurricanes, but the third, the fourth and the fifth ones are about Angels and their mission: ie. distributing the verses, sorting out the right from the wrong and revealing Allah's instructions to prophets for justice and warning.
The first factor, which caused the third idea to form and separated these verses into two groups, is the conjunction 'and' in two of the verses, and another form of relative juncture; the Arabic letter 'ف' (f), which occurs in the rest.
The second factor is the important sense that verse seven consists of. All the oaths are for the subject matter of this verse, that is, the reality of the Resurrection and the Hereafter.
We know that at the beginning of the Resurrection there will be many great happenings that will change the world. There will be violent storms, earthquakes, and some other shaking events on the one hand, and on the other hand, formation of the Great Judgment, where Angels divide the individuals' records, and separate the believers from unbelievers, communicating Allah's decree to them.
If the above five verses are stated according to this idea, they are suited to what they are sworn to, and, from this point of view, the last idea is superior to the first two.
The last word in verse five, /zikr/; 'Reminder', means either the knowledge bestowed upon the prophets, or the verses revealed to them. And we know that in the verses of Qur'an the word 'Qur'an', itself, means Reminder; as we see in Sura Al-Hijr. No. 15. verse 6, "And they say: O thou to whom the Reminder is revealed! Thou art indeed a mad man!".
Gabriel, who revealed the Message to the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.), was only one angel, but /mulqiyat/ 'angels' is in a plural form. Since, according to some narrations, sometimes large groups of angels accompanied Gabriel to bring the verses; as in Sura Abasa, No. 80, verse 15 which denotes that verses are revealed to the Prophet (p.b.u.h) "by the hands of Angels".
What are these oaths for? The next verse uncovers the secret:
"Surely that which you are promised (for the Resurrection) will
There is no doubt that resurrection and bringing man to life again, recompense and punishment, reckoning and retribution (judgment) are right and proper.
This verse demands that all of Allah's promises are sure irrespective of the promises to good-doers and evildoers in this world and in the Hereafter.
There is nothing mentioned about the Resurrection in this verse, but in the former verses there are some hints to Resurrection, which confirm that it exists. For example, giving life to the dead lands by sending down rain, which is an illustrative incident of Resurrection; revealing Allah's instructions to the prophets; and appointing Messengers, all of which would be meaningless without the Hereafter. Then, the promised Resurrection is bound to come.
Similar to that is Sura Zariyat, No. 51, verse 22-23: "And in heaven is your sustenance,..." and "Then, by the Lord of heaven and earth, this is the very Truth..."
The oath to the Lord /rabb/ 'the Owner, the Cherisher' denotes that our sustenance is seriously true, and it is the Lord's Wisdom which demands that sustenance be provided to the creatures.
Through the following three verses, the signs of that Day are pointed out: "Then when the stars are extinguished;"
"And when the sky is cleft asunder;"
"And when the mountains are carried away;"
The word /tamasat/ is derived from /tams/ which means 'to efface' or 'to obliterate (to destroy all trace of )', may refer to the extinction of the stars or their dissolution, but the first rendition is more fitting. A similar meaning is found in Sura Takwir, No. 81. verse 2: "And when the stars darken;".
The word /nasafat/ is derived from /nasf/ which originally means 'to winnow as chaff, the act of winnowing', but here, it means: 'to reduce the mountains to powder and scatter them abroad'.
In general, from many verses of the Holy Qur'an it is understood that, at last, this physical world will end with some series of extremely horrible events, and its regularity will be terribly destroyed. Then the spiritual world will be substituted by a new order.
The events are so horrible and amazing that no single word or expression can describe them. Are the mountains which are reduced to powder and scattered abroad, and like events, describable?
Some commentators have said that, in comparison with these events, the greatest earthquakes Man has ever seen are like tiny firecrackers, which little boys explode for fun, and liken these horrifying events with the greatest atomic bombs.
At any rate, these meanings, in the Holy Qur'an, indicate the great difference between the physical world and the spiritual world.
Then, in the following verse, one of the occurrences at the gathering place, on the Day of Judgment, is defined:
"And when the prophets are called unto their time appointed (for witness)".
The theme of this verse and that of Sura A'raf, No. 7, verse 6 are similar: "Then shall We question those to whom Our Message was sent and those by whom We sent it."
And then it adds: "For what Day is this (portent) deferred?"
"For the Day of Sorting out (right from wrong)."
This question, and its answer, shows the greatness of that Day, and what a clear and meaningful answer this is!: "For the Day of Sorting out". It is the Day of sorting out right from wrong, believers from unbelievers, good-doers from evildoers, and the Day of Judgment for all.
And then: "What do you know about the Day of Sorting out?"
What are we looking for when the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), having such extensive and broad knowledge and keen insight; by which he was able to discover the secrets of that mysterious world, could not deeply appreciate all the dimensions of that Day?
As it was repeatedly mentioned before, it is impossible for us, prisoners in this world of a cage, to understand all the great secrets of the Hereafter; we may only see its silhouette, but we believe in it.
Then, the warning: "Ah woe, that Day, to the Rejecters of Truth."
The term /wayl/ 'woe' is interpreted as 'punishment with destruction, any punishment, or, a site in Hell full of torment'. This word is usually said to anyone or anything for whom or that which falls into misfortune and on whom one does not wish Allah's mercy to descend and, here, it is used for the painful fate of the rejecters on that Day.
'The rejecters of Truth' are those who do not believe in the Hereafter. And we know that those who reject the Day of Judgment and the Day of Reckoning easily commit any sin or corruption. But a firm belief in the reality of that Day demands virtue and responsibility in human beings.
Contents of the Oaths:
In the above verses, it swears to the winds and hurricanes. This is because they have an important structural role in nature: they move the clouds and take them over dead lands, pouring down rain, and then scattering them.
Winds scatter seeds far and wide, here and there, and produce forests. They fertilize many of the plants and flowers. They change the weather, hot and cold, or moderate it. They clear the air of epidemics: they take the fresh air from green fields and bring it into cities to substitute its polluted one. They cause the seas to undulate and oxygenate the water, which is essential to the developing processes of living creatures in the seas. Surely, winds and breezes are beneficial to man in the world.
Some other verses of the above group swear to angels by which Allah's Messages and revelations, that cherish virtue and humanity, were gradually conveyed to the prophets' hearts like the winds that come gently as harbingers with blessings of rain and fertility. Winds are in the physical world while angels are in the spiritual world. Then Allah's oaths are to both the physical cherishers and the spiritual ones.
It is interesting to note that all the oaths are for the belief that His promise of mercy and justice in the Hereafter, 'the Day of Sorting out', is indeed true.