In The Name of Allah. The Beneficent, The Merciful
1. "When the Sky is rent asunder,"
2. "And obeys its Lord, and it must;"
3. "And when the Earth is flattened out,"
4. "And casts forth what is within it and becomes empty,"
5. "And obeys its Lord, and it must;"
6. "O man! Surely you are ever toiling on towards your Lord; painfully toiling, until you meet Him."
7. "Then he who is given his Record in his right hand,"
8. "Soon he will be reckoned with by an easy reckoning,"
9. "And he will return unto his people in joy."
A Hard Struggle Towards Absolute Perfection:
As it was said in the description of the content of the Sura, at the beginning of the Sura it talks about the awful and amazing events which will happen at the end of this world. It says: "When the Sky is rent asunder," (and the celestial bodies burst asunder and lose their order and regularity).
An idea similar to that is mentioned at the beginning of Sura Infitar, No. 82, verses 1-2 where it says: "When the Sky is cleft asunder," "When the planets are scattered", and this is an announcement for the destruction and the end to this material world.
"And obeys its Lord, and it must;"
No one might suppose that the Sky, which is great and seemingly vast and limitless, would have the least resistance against this divine order. It, like an obedient person, resigns to the Order, perfectly.
The term /aDinat/ is derived from /uDun/ 'ear' meaning 'to listen to'; and here, metaphorically means 'to obey the Command'.
The term /huqqat/ is based on /haqq/ and means 'fit, need, or deserve'.
How can the earth and the sky not obey when they are created things and they must necessarily obey their Creator since their very nature as a created being requires that they must hearken to the call of their Creator, and they not only did so from the beginning as Sura Fussilat, No. 41 verse 11 says: "...they said 'we do come (together), in willing obedience'", but they also obey Allah's' command for their dissolution.
Some have also said that the purpose of the term /huqqat/ is that the fear of the Hereafter is so terrible that the Sky deserves to be cleft asunder. However, the first commentary seems more fitting.
* * * *
Then it points to the state of the earth and says: "And when the Earth is flattened out''.
Many verses in the Qur'an say that mountains will be uprooted, totally, and left as plains; smooth and level, and the earth will be flattened and large enough for all human beings to gather on. This is said in Sura 'Ta-ha No. 20, verses 105-107: "They ask thee concerning the Mountains: say, 'My Lord will uproot them and scatter them as dust;'" "He will leave them as plains smooth and level;" ''Nothing crooked or curved will thou see in their place".
And the Great Judgment, where all human beings, from the beginning to the end, are gathered, needs such a large and level place.
Some commentators have said that on That Day Allah spreads the present earth, much larger than it is now, in order to make room enough for all of His creatures.
"And casts forth what is within it and becomes empty."
The consensus of scholars say that the meaning of the verse is that the Earth will suddenly cast forth what it has within its soil, of dead bodies, who will then have a re-birth for the eternal life. This is the same idea set forth in Sura Zilzal, No. 99, verse 2: "And the Earth throws up her burdens (from within)." And, it is also similar to what is said in Sura Nazi'at, No. 79, verses 13-14: "But it shall be only a single blast," "When, behold, they shall be in the awakened state."
Some commentators have said that besides human beings, mines and treasures, hidden within the soil, will erupt.
It is also probable that the verse refers to the idea that molten lava, within the earth, will be carried out by violent and terrible earthquakes which then covers the surface of the earth and makes it level. Thereafter, the interior of the earth will be empty and quiet.
All of the above three commentaries, combined, are also possible.
* * * *
"And obeys its Lord, and it must."
These events, which correlate with the submission of all creatures, indicate the destruction of the universe: the earth, the sky, treasures which, all-in-all, come to an end and give way to a new stage of life; the Eternal life.
Moreover, as signs, they make it clear that Allah domain is over everything, especially the Resurrection.
Verily, Man will be faced with the result of his actions; good or evil, when these events occur.
* * * *
Then, addressing mankind, it tells them of the fate on their path: "0 man! Surely you are ever toiling on towards your Lord; painfully toiling, until you meet Him."
The term /kadh/ means ' toil ' and ' labour ', or ' striving hard '.
In the commentaries of 'Kashshaf ' and 'Fakhr-i-Razi' and also 'Ruh-al-Amin' the term has been meant as 'a scratch on the skin of the body '. That is why it is used for the struggles which affect Man's spirit.
This verse points to a great principle throughout everyone's life. It says that this life is perpetually saturated with pain and labour, when it is for obtaining the articles of this world, and even more so for the eternal happiness and for gaining Allah's favour. This is the nature of this world. Even those who live a very good life are not at all free from pain and labour.
The term ' meet ' used in this verse refers to either the meeting at the Gathering Place, in the Hereafter, before the throne of Allah's Absolute Judgment for all, or meeting His Reward or Punishment, or meeting Him through one's intuition, and shows that the pain and the labour will continue until That Day. When it finishes, one meets his Lord after death, with one's pure and good deeds, of course.
Man, in the sense of all human beings, and stressing on the humanity of the human, is addressed by the verse, and this tells us the fact that Allah has created the required faculties in Man to pave the way from the beginning to the end.
The emphasis on the term ' Lord ' points to another fact. That is, that this troublesome effort of life is a part of the Divine program towards Man's development.
Verily, we are travellers, from nothing, who have entered the realm of existence and are going to the Abode of Love with the hope that we shall meet Him.
This idea is mentioned in some other verses, of the Qur'an. For example, in Sura Najm, No. n53, verse 42 it says: "That to thy Lord is the final Goal". And also in Sura Fatir, No. 35, verse 18 it says: "...and the destination (of all) is to Allah."
And there are also other verses, in the Qur'an, all of which denote that the permanent process of development for all creatures is unto Almighty Allah.
* * * *
But, here, men are divided into two groups, as it says:
"Then he who is given his Record in his right hand,"
"Soon he will be reckoned with by an easy reckoning,"
"And he will return unto his people in joy."
This group of people are those who act and use their gifts in the same way that Allah has guided Man to do. All their efforts and endeavours are for the sake of Allah and their entire movements are always unto Allah. There, they are given their Records in their right hand and that shows the purity of their deeds, the correctness of their faith, and their deliverance in the Hereafter that will bring them joy and happiness; an honour to all human beings gathered there.
When they stand in front of the Scale (for reckoning), that which is very just, Allah reckons with them easily: He forgives them of their faults and, because of their strong faith and good acts, changes their sins into good deeds.
Some commentators have said that the meaning of 'an easy reckoning ' is an account which is taken easily and not with accuracy and severity; in which sins are forgiven and good deeds are given reward.
There is a tradition from the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) which says: "Allah takes the account easy of he who has three characteristics and lets him go into Heaven with His Mercy." "What are they?" they asked, and he answered, "To be generous to the person who deprived you; to join to the one who ceased from you; and to forgive those who hurt you".
This matter is also understood from some narrations that accuracy and severity with reckoning, in the Hereafter, depends on one's wisdom and knowledge, as a narration from Imam Baqir (p.b.u.h.) says: "In the Hereafter and on the Day of Judgment, Allah, the Almighty, will exact a detailed account from his servants, in exact proportion to the reason with which He has endowed them in the worldly life". 
The opinions for the commentary about /ahl / are divided. Some commentators have said that the objective meaning is 'one's believing wife and children' that only believers will obtain in Heaven. The very thing, that a person meets his beloved members, in Heaven, and is with them there, is a great blessing in itself.
Some other commentators have said that it means 'the angels belonging to the believing servants in Heaven'. Still others have meant /ahl/ as the believing persons whom were loved by one in this life and they were on the same level with him.
All of them combined are also probable.
* * * *
A Surprising Narration!
It is narrated from Amir-al-Mo'mineen Ali (p.b.u.h.) who commented about the verse: "When the Sky is rent asunder" and said: ''The skies will separate from the galaxy".
This narration is meaningful and noteworthy. It is considered among the miracles of science. It opens a secret which none of the scientists of that time knew. But, nowadays astronomers, with the help of their observations through their great and powerful telescopes, have proven that the universe is a collection of galaxies, each of which is in the form of many systems and stars, and that is why they are called 'star cities'. The Milky Way, a known galaxy, is visible at night and is a great collection of these very systems and stars. One side of it is so far from us that its stars seem to be only a massive white cloud, but actually it is a group of lights close together, indeed.
The other side of it, which is nearer to us, is formed by visible stars; the same stars which we see in the sky at night. Then, our solar system is a part of this galaxy; the Milky Way.
According to the above narration, Hazrat Ali (p.b.u.h.) says that at the threshold of the Hereafter the stars that we primarily see in the sky will separate from the galaxy and lose their order completely.
In those days, no one knew that the stars we see in the sky were really parts of the Milky Way, but only he whose heart was connected to the unseen world and whose knowledge was derived from the divine source could know.
* * * *
This Life is Full of Pain and Labour.
The term /kadih/, used in the verse, denotes that every effort and endeavour is with pain and trouble. The verse addresses all individuals and states the fact that the nature of life, in this world at any stage, is full of toil and misery, bodily, mentally or both, combined, and no one is an exception.
There is a very meaningful tradition narrated from Imam Ali-ibn-al-Hosain (p.b.u.h.) which says: "There is no ease and comfort in the world for the people of this world. It is found only in Heaven and for the people of Heaven. Toil and labour are in this world and for the people of this world. Each one of them who gets a share of it, has doubled the greed. And those who have more property and things of this world are more needful, because they need other people and some tools to keep and protect the things that they have accumulated. Then, there is no comfort in the wealth of this world."
So Imam (p.b.u.h.) adds at the end that: "Nay, the friends of Allah never bear pain in this world for this world, but they bear it in this world for the Next World." 
 Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol. 5,p. 537.
 Khisal-i-Saduq, vol. 1, Chapter:
'This World and the Next World'